Georgia’s Kirby Smart, who last season guided the Bulldogs to their first SEC title since 2005 and an appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T, will receive a new seven-year, $49 million contract.While this puts Smart up with the highest paid coaches, the top paid coach remains occupied by Alabama’s Nick Saban, Smart’s former boss and coach of the team that defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime in the National Championship Game at the beginning of 2018.
The new deal, which will extend Smart through the 2024 season, was approved by the executive committee of the UGA Athletic Association on Thursday.
“Kirby has provided an incredible level of energy and excitement to our football program, and we look forward to his leadership for many years to come,” athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement.
The deal represents a $3.25 million a year raise and three-year extension for Smart, and ties him with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn for third in the league in highest compensation with an average salary of $7 million. Malzahn got a raise to that amount and a similar extension shortly after losing to the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game last December.
“I’d like to first thank President Morehead and Greg McGarity for allowing me to lead this program,” said Smart, in a statement released by the athletic association. “I’m humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me and won’t ever take that for granted. I’d also like to thank our staff and our entire football family. Without their hard work and dedication w,e wouldn’t have been able to have the kind of success we’ve had in such a short period of time. Last, but not least, I want to express my gratitude and love for all our fans and thank them and the wonderful people of the state of Georgia for their tremendous support.”