Kirby Smart is now the highest-paid coach in college football, as Georgia agreed to a contract extension with Smart earlier this month that would pay him more than $13 million annually.

The contract also extends Smart’s deal through December of 2033.

When speaking on the Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday, Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks shared why it was important to show the Georgia head coach the university is just as committed to Smart as he is to the school.

“You also have to determine what the value is to your institution,” Brooks said. “What he’s meant to our institution, our city, our state. We have set fundraising records three years in a row now in athletics. And that is due directly to the success we’ve had in football and people donating more to secure their seats or move up their seats. The return on investment has been amazing. We think that is not just these last few years but in the years to come.”

Since Smart was hired in December of 2015, he has taken the Georgia program to new heights. The Bulldogs won back-to-back national championships in 2021 and 2022 and are a staggering 42-2 over the previous three seasons.

With Nick Saban retiring and Jim Harbaugh moving on to the NFL, Smart is now just one of three active coaches that have won a national championship and the only one coaching in the SEC. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and North Carolina’s Mack Brown are the other two.

In addition to championships, Georgia has had 63 players taken in the NFL draft in Smart’s first eight seasons in charge, the most by any coach in their first eight seasons. Georgia has won the SEC twice and Smart has amassed a 94-16 record.

The sport of college football has changed a lot recently, be it with the transfer portal, NIL and starting this season and expanded College Football Playoff. Add in that the SEC is bringing in Texas and Oklahoma to join the conference, and you can understand why it’s a critical time to have a strong leader of your football program.

Brooks believes there is no one better suited for the job at Georgia than Smart, a Georgia alum himself.

“I don’t pay attention to social media things but I can tell you when people come to me, donors, fans, whoever, it’s all been positive,” Brooks said. “‘Thank you for securing our coach’ and locking him in for long term.’ And that’s a commitment. For me, it’s also shown a commitment to him. Because he’s shown a commitment to Georgia, he’s not someone that leverages us or something like that. It’s an opportunity for to show a commitment to him and long term a commitment to him and his success.”

When speaking to reporters at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., Brooks put it bluntly as to why Smart was so deserving of this contract extension.

“I think he’s the best coach in the country, and I think I really wanted to show commitment to him that we want him to be our coach for a very long time,” Brooks said. “Sometimes I’d rather be proactive in those things and show our commitment and trust in him. I think he’s worth it.”