Georgia president hints at massive Kirby Smart raise, contract finalization pending

Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who just finished his sixth season leading the Bulldogs, in on the verge of signing a contract extension that will include a massive raise. Photos from Georgia’s practice session on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 2, 2022. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

GREENSBORO — Kirby Smart is on the verge of finalizing a contract extension that will make him one of the highest-paid coaches in the nation.

UGA President Jere Morehead said he has authorized the school’s general counsel to finalize what he referred to as a “long-term extension.”

“We’ll just be getting the board to approve that in writing,” Morehead said. “We know where we are. We’re all in a good place. We’ll expect it to get finalized over the next few weeks.”

The two sides have likely agreed in principle.

“It’s just going through the process, taking your time,” UGA athletic director Josh Brooks said. “This is an important contract for him and for us. It’s just all the little details. It’s just typical stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Smart, whose contract paid him $7.1 million before bonuses last season, is believed to have a new deal worth approximately $10 million per year.

GRIFFITH: Georgia football Kirby Smart worthy of $10 million a year

“It will be commensurate with what you would expect compensation to be for a national championship coach,” Morehead said, asked about the possibility of a 10-year, $100 million deal for Smart.

“We’re close to finalizing those arrangements. I don’t think anybody will be surprised.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban signed a contract extension last July that runs through 2028 that averages $9.75 million per year.

More recently, former Oklahoma and current USC head coach Lincoln Riley set the bar with a $110 million in addition to the school buying a $6 million home for him in Los Angeles and providing him 24/7 use of the school’s private jet.

“Our current agreement with Coach Smart runs through 2024, and regardless of what happened this season, it was time to revisit,” Morehead said.

“Coach Smart is one of only five active head coaches to have won a national championship, in addition to having won an SEC Championship, a Rose Bowl, an Orange Bowl and a Sugar Bowl.

“He has earned the right to be compensated.”

Smart, 14-7 against Top 10 teams, has Georgia riding a streak of five consecutive seasons ranked in the CFP Top 10.

Brooks indicated the negotiations with Smart’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, have gone smoothly.

“It’s been a great process with him, no qualms there,” said Brooks, who has communicated with Sexton in person and in phone calls. “It’s been a great process.”

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