Last week I talked about SEC Media Days approaching, how much things had changed, and what might go down. The funny thing is the biggest piece of news came down AFTER Kirby Smart and company had left Atlanta.
Kirby Smart agreed to a contract extension through 2031 that will pay him $10,250,000 in 2022 with increases that will eventually reach $12,250,000 in 2031. Ladies and gentlemen, Kirby Smart is now the highest paid coach in college football*.
* This cannot be 100% confirmed since Lincoln Riley's salary at USC, a private school, is not public information
Did you see this coming back in 2015 when Kirby was hired to replace Mark Richt? I know I didn't. In fact, I was upset at the time that Georgia had fired Mark Richt with Kirby Smart as plan A. See below for proof:
For the record, I've never been so happy to be so wrong, and I actually love to call myself out on this. One of my first tweets after we won the natty was to make fun of myself.
Now, where did that sentiment come from? A good friend of mine that's a Bama grad. His take was that Georgia, as a program, was better than the type of program that hires a coordinator to be a first time head coach. The lesson I've since learned many times over? Never listen to Bama fans.
Anyway, this is a special time at Georgia and a special time for Smart. We now all see this is the perfect fit. An alum. One of our own. A kid from Georgia that played for the Dawgs, wasn't the most talented, but still made a name for himself. He's brought that same mentality as the coach at Georgia. He gets us, and we get him.
And now I have to bring all of this back to SEC Media Days. Kirby was asked what kind of personal victory he felt by sticking with Stetson Bennett in the National Championship game. In true Kirby fashion he said it wasn't any personal vindication, it was just "what you do as a coach." It was actually this question that lead to Kirby's comment that Stetson is "one of the least respected good players that there is in this country." You know Kirby sees a little bit of himself in Stetson. He had to have felt some level of vindication there even if he says otherwise.
And if you asked Kirby if he feels any personal victory about proving the doubters wrong by winning a national championship and becoming the highest paid coach in college football? I'm sure he'd give a similar answer to the one he gave to the Stetson question. But I hope he does feel it over all of the doubters, including my own self from November of 2015, just a little bit. We all know that's not in his nature though. He's already moved on to the season at hand. He's getting his program ready to defend a title.
Edited by Jim Wood