Head Football Coach, University of Georgia
Kirby Smart is the Head Football Coach of the University of Georgia, who coached the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championship victories in 2022 and 2023. Prior to that, the team hadn't won a title since 1980. In 2017, he coached the Bulldogs to a 12-win season, the team’s first SEC title since 2005, and a thrilling double-overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
Smart was the defensive coordinator for the University of Alabama from 2008-2015 and became known for his legendary defensive units, winning multiple coaching awards and helping the Crimson Tide secure three National Championships.
On December 6, 2015, Smart was announced as the 26th head football coach at the University of Georgia. Smart went 8–5 in his first season as the head coach of the Bulldogs in 2016. The Bulldogs finished tied for second in the SEC East division. In the 2017 season, Smart led the Bulldogs to their first 9–0 start since 1982 and won the SEC East after a victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on November 4. On December 2. 2017, Smart coached Georgia to its first SEC title since 2005, and only the fourth 12-win season in school history (1980, 2002, 2012). On December 3, Georgia was ranked No. 3 by the College Football Playoff Committee and was set to play No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Georgia rallied from a 31-17 first half deficit, ultimately defeating Oklahoma 54-48 in double overtime, completing the largest comeback in Rose Bowl history. The Bulldogs then went on to the National Championship game where they narrowly lost to the University of Alabama in overtime. Smart was named the 2017 SEC Coach of the Year.
Smart began his coaching career with the University of Georgia in 1999, serving as an administrative assistant. He then moved to Valdosta State where he spent one season as defensive backs coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2001 season. From 2002 to 2003, Smart worked as a graduate assistant under Bobby Bowden at Florida State while pursuing a master's degree. He received his master's degree from FSU in 2003. Smart then spent one season as defensive backs coach at LSU under head coach Nick Saban in 2004. Smart rejoined the Georgia Bulldogs football program to serve as running backs coach for the 2005 season. His only season in the NFL came in 2006, during which time he coached under Saban again, this time as the Miami Dolphins safeties coach.
Smart followed Nick Saban to the University of Alabama in 2007. He was hired by Saban as an assistant coach on January 9. On February 27, 2008, Smart was promoted to defensive coordinator. On December 8, 2009, Smart was awarded the Broyles Award as the nation's best assistant coach. He was the first Alabama assistant coach to win the award. On November 20, 2012, Smart was recognized as the 2012 AFCA FBS Assistant Coach of the Year.
During his tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won three BCS National Championships, one College Football Playoff national title, three Southeastern Conference crowns, six SEC western division titles, and was ranked in the nation’s final top ten rankings every year. When Smart left Alabama in 2015, the Tide defense ranked first nationally in rushing defense (75.7 ypg), third in total defense (276.3 ypg), and third in scoring defense (15.1).
As a player, Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back for Georgia, where he was a First Team All-SEC pick as a senior. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, which was fourth in Georgia annals, and led the Bulldogs with six interceptions in 1997 and five in 1998. He also was a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Smart received his BBA degree in Finance from the University of Georgia in 1998 and his M.S. in Physical Education from Florida State in 2003.
A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Smart is married to Mary Beth Lycett, a four-year letter winner on the Georgia women’s basketball team from 2000-2003. The couple are the proud parents of three children.