Georgia football coach Kirby Smart celebrates championship season at Sanford Stadium

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January 15, 2022 Athens - Georgia's head coach Kirby Smart holds up The Coaches’ Trophy during the celebration of Georgia’s College Football Playoff national championship at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday, January 15, 2022. Georgia captured the national championship, its first since the 1980 season, with a 33-18 victory over Alabama at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart look around Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Bulldogs fans packing the stands in red and black to celebrate a championship, and shared a memory.

Yes, Smart acknowledged, there were plenty of memories from Georgia’s domination at Sanford Stadium this season.

“You guys answered the bell as fans, and we appreciate you.”

Smart thanked the administration, too, as Georgia has invested $180 million in facilities completed since he was hired.

“You don’t get success in life and have the things we have without the support,” Smart said. “It had been a long time for me wanting to come back to Georgia, it was important to me to get back to a place that could support the kind of program we wanted to have and this state deserves.

“We have accelerated our facilities, and that wouldn’t be possible without the support of our administration and the support of our fanbase.”

Georgia is on the verge of another major investment with Smart’s salary up for renegotiation. Smart, having completed his sixth year as head coach, is expected to get a 10-year guaranteed deal in the neighborhood of $100 million.

UGA President Jere Morehead left no doubt the school is committed to Smart.

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