He did not come by it naturally.
Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart has learned from some of the most successful taskmasters in the history of the college game. And along the way, Smart has not let any AstroTurf or natural grass grow underneath his feet.
Smart has learned from some college football geniuses like Bobby Bowden and Nick Saban. Smart coached under Bowden from 2002-2003 as a graduate assistant at Florida State. Bowden did win 377 games in his career, along with two national titles and 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships.
From the ex-Seminole, Smart learned the basics of the college coaching game from strategy, to game planning, to dealing with players on a daily basis. Smart gained some of his grit and gumption from Bowden, who turned Florida State from a cellar dweller into a national power.
Saban, the Alabama master and the hard-core teacher, taught Smart how to turn good high school players into great college football players. It begins in the weight room and it continues between the ears of every player. Smart learned discipline and techniques from Saban, the 66-yearold godfather of the college game.
Saban has a rather sporty record of 217-62-1 with head coaching stints at Alabama, LSU, Michigan State and Toledo. Smart coached with Saban for eight years at the University of Alabama. Smart was first the defensive backs coach and then the defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide.
Smart also learned how to win at the highest level, from the practice field to the Saturday gridiron. Smart learned toughness from Saban and humility from Bowden. While in Tuscaloosa, Smart was a part of four national titles and four SEC championships with Saban.
Smart also coached with Saban, the evil genious, at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins. All of these coaching experiences – the winning and the losing – has made Kirby Smart who he is today.
A guy who knows how to build a successful program.
Smart, back at Georgia where he once starred as an All-SEC defensive back, is turning the Bulldogs into something that they once were. The Bainbridge native has made Georgia a championship football program once again.
This season the Dogs won the Eastern Division title, the SEC championship, and Georgia played on the national championship stage on Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium against of all teams, Alabama.
Kirby Smart has given the Bulldogs a facelift and a few tucks in all the right places. Smart is 21-7 with UGA in the last two years. The coach has changed the attitudes of his players and the championship expectations.
Smart is hitting the bumpy backroads and the smooth interstate highways for new players. The head Dog is at the top of his game. The coach bleeds Red & Black, and he wants to win for his players, his fans and every infant who wants to play football for UGA one day. Not only are the Dogs back, they aren’t backing off either. Not even for Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.