Kirby Smart took over as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in 2016. Now, he has his alma mater primed as the No. 1 ranked team in the College Football Playoff.
But according to a recent statement from Smart’s wife, Mary Beth, all of this history could’ve been left undone.
As one of the most highly-sought-after names in the 2015 coaching cycle, Smart apparently almost landed with another SEC program.
“We were really close to taking South Carolina at the time,” Mary Beth said during a recent appearance on 960 The Ref. “… The AD [Ray Tanner] and one of the athletic administration guys were in the kitchen meeting with us that morning Coach (Mark) Richt was fired. It was leading down that road. The way the timing fell for him was really special.”
In 2015, South Carolina notched a disappointing 3-9 season. As a longtime college football assistant and defensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Smart was a very attractive option to take over the Gamecocks’ program.
But, when former Georgia head coach Mark Richt was fired by the UGA program in November of 2015, a far more attractive option opened up. Smart, who played his college football with the Bulldogs from 1995-98, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lead his beloved program.
After Kirby Smart took the Georgia job, South Carolina ultimately ended up hiring former Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp now works as a defensive analyst under Smart in Athens.
In 2021, Smart’s Georgia program has separated itself as the most dominant team in the nation. With a 10-0 record on the year, the Bulldogs will look to ride this wave all the way to a national championship.
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