OR IS HE EYEING THE NFL?
Defense wins championships, and there is no better defensive coach in NCAA Division I-A football than Kirby Smart of Alabama. For the past seven-and-a-half seasons, Smart has been an integral part of the Crimson Tide’s return to national prominence – a run that’s included three national championships.
The 39-year-old Montgomery, Alabama native – who played his college ball at Georgia – is also one of the nation’s top recruiters.
No wonder he’s being viewed as head coaching prospect at the University of South Carolina – which suddenly has a vacancy in the aftermath of head coach Steve Spurrier‘s surprise midseason retirement.
If there’s two things the Gamecock program desperately needs to return to national prominence it’s defense and better recruiting.
Smart also made it clear prior to Alabama’s 2012 title game that he wanted to be an NCAA head coach at some point.
“Ultimately, my goal in my career is to be a head coach,” he said. “Where that is, I have no idea. It’s not like I wake up every day trying to leave Alabama. I have the best non-head coaching job in the country, period, because I’ve got a great administration. We’ve got a great facility. I want to be where I can win, and I know you can win at Alabama.”
Has he become burned out on the college game since then, though? It sounded like it this summer.
“It never stops. It’s 365 recruiting,” Smart told an Alabama radio station back in July. “That cell phone you’ve got, these smartphones are the death of college coaching. Every college coach I talk to won’t say it on record, but everyone’s thinking, ‘should I go to the (NFL)?’ Because you don’t have the same requirements. It’s different. The hours are different.”
Smart added that “if you’re not a niche recruiter, or as you get older and less active as a recruiter, you become less valuable.”
“It’s constant and you always feel like it’s fourth-and-1,” he said.
A two-time assistant coach of the year, Smart has been well-compensated by Alabama to keep at it – earning $1.3 million a year.
South Carolina might not be Smart’s only suitor. Assuming Georgia head coach Mark Richt were to step down or be fired following the 2015 season, he’d likely be high on the Bulldogs’ list of potential coaches, too.