Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was on the brink of landing the Auburn head coaching job last week, but missed out when the Tigers chose Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn as Gene Chizik's replacement.
But Smart had support.
According to AL.com, Smart was the top choice of former Auburn head coach Pat Dye, whose influence in Auburn athletics varies depending on whom you ask.
As the hotshot assistant in the coaching ranks, Smart still finds that glass ceiling too tough to break.
Does that mean that he is destined to stay as an assistant forever? Of course not.
Aside from his stint as the safeties coach with the Miami Dolphins, he has spent his entire coaching career in college in the South. It would only make sense that he sticks around the region considering it's what he knows best.
But maybe Smart would be wise to stick around in Tuscaloosa.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp proved that you can jump from a coordinator position to the dream job, when he was hired away from Texas to become the Gators' head coach prior to the 2011 season.
It worked out well for Muschamp, and it appears that route may be the best way for Smart to break into the head coaching ranks.
He has a good gig going at Alabama.
He received a $100,000 raise in March to up his salary to $950,000 per year, has the most talented defense in college football and can continually learn from head coach Nick Saban—one of the top defensive minds in college football.
Alabama's defense has finished in the top five nationally in total defense every year since 2008, which was the year Smart was promoted to defensive coordinator. Sure, the theory exists that the Crimson Tide defense is really Saban's, and that Smart's impact is minimal. But Alabama wouldn't be paying him so much if he wasn't valuable.
The SEC will launch its cable network in 2014 or shortly thereafter, and with it will come a cash infusion that will send salaries skyrocketing—even more than they already are.
If Smart can wait for a few years, he will be on top of the short list for every athletic director with a vacancy—and some that aren't vacant. That could mean a huge pay day and a dream job.
If you believe Nick Saban's wife, that dream job could be with Alabama as Saban's successor.
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