Georgia Loses Battle for Kirby Smart, So Who Will the Bulldogs Target Now?
Well, another one bites the dust—Georgia is in day 40 and still no defensive coordinator has been announced.
Kirby Smart, the current candidate for the position, has turned down the reported three-year, more than $700,000 offer made by the University of Georgia in order to stay in Tuscaloosa with Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The following is his statement as reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:
"I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school, but when it is a place I’ve spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best.
"After thinking about all the factors over the last couple days, we are going to stay at the University of Alabama. We love it in Tuscaloosa, have made some great friends here and I think we are building something special here at Alabama with Coach [Nick] Saban. I have learned so much in the time I’ve spent with Coach Saban, and every year I feel like a become a better coach.
"I’ve got a great deal of respect for Coach [Mark] Richt and the job he has done there, and the University of Georgia will also have a special place in my heart. Not only did I play there, but my wife played basketball there and we have a lot of friends at UGA.”
It's likely that just as Bud Foster and John Chavis before him, Kirby has earned himself a hefty raise in the process—he may have even had the "Head Coach In Waiting" tag placed on him. That last point is just speculation by an Alabama blogger but it's a good indication as to how seriously the Bama faithful took this fight to keep Kirby.
Many may wonder how much his decision to stay had to do with Nick Saban's pointed comments. While others may look at the successful track the Tide are headed down and wonder why he wouldn't want to stay.
Either way, he's made bigger fans of the Crimson Tide faithful while making a few enemies of some of his red and black brethren.
I, for one, began to feel more skeptical about the possibility of him coming as the hours ticked along. It's never a good thing to see a decision take as long as this one did—especially when there's more than $2 million on the table.
Interesting note, though, if you subscribe to the rumor mill. Former Dawg great, David Pollack (davidpollack47), stated this on Twitter just minutes after the word of Smart's decision reached the masses:
"Wow so Smart signs a term sheet to join Georgia as there (sic) new DC and the. Backs out. Wow wow wow"
Take that for what it's worth but it's a rumor that could end up being just what the spin doctor ordered when people start looking at coach Richt for further answers as to why this deal didn't go down.
Understand me, though, I don't know that Smart reneged on anything. Draw your own conclusions and take anything you hear about this most recent turndown with a grain of salt—iodized salt.
As for me, I wish Kirby and the Tide good luck next season. They won this fight and the Bulldawg Nation will just have to respect that and move on. We still have a job that needs to be filled and it is beginning to reach critical mass as signing day is a mere weeks away.
So who's next in line for consideration? The Dawgs are obviously getting closer to that mid-January deadline that Richt talked about near the end of December, and some of our defensive recruiting prospects might be wondering what's going on?
After all, who wouldn't. On to the next one, I say.
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