ATHENS — Georgia football could be on the brink of officially hiring Will Muschamp into an analyst or advisor role now that the former South Carolina head coach has received buyout money.
Muschamp has been spotted around the Bulldogs’ program as far back as the team’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl practices, and as recently as last week at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.
UGA, however, issued a statement that Muschamp was technically not “employed” by the school last week:
“Will Muschamp is not currently employed at the University of Georgia.”
Often times when coaches are due buyouts, like the lump sum of $12.9 million Muschamp received last Friday per The Athletic, there are stipulations involving future employment.
ICYMI, South Carolina has paid Will Muschamp $12.9 million in a lump sum payment to settle all contractual debt to its former coach. The school released the documents outlining the deal Friday afternoon.
— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) January 25, 2021
Now that Muschamp is free and clear of his South Carolina contract, it would seem to be a matter of shuffling the paperwork to make his status with Georgia official.
Of course, Muchamp’s finances are such that he need not be in a hurry to sign any coaching documents, so much as find a temporary nesting spot.
The 49-year-old Muschamp likely has at least one more head coaching run in him after his tenures leading programs at Florida (28-21 record, 2011-14) and South Carolina (28-30 record, 2016-20).
Muschamp has been represented by SEC super-agent Jimmy Sexton, who as recently as 2017 represented 11 of the 14 SEC head coaches including Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, Dan Mullen, Matt Luke, Butch Jones and Smart.
Sexton has been most effective at placing clients, and Muschamp’s charisma and immense popularity with media bode well for him in a business with rapid turnover.
Muschamp’s decision to camp at Georgia makes great sense when one considers his son, Jackson, is a preferred walk-on with the Bulldogs.
The ace in the hole, however, is that Smart has been a close friend of Muschamp’s for years.
The two coaches share genuine, mutual respect that goes back to when Muschamp helped Smart get his first full-time coaching job as the defensive backs coach at Valdosta State in 2000.
Muschamp (1991-94) and Smart (1994-98) overlapped briefly at Georgia, but they didn’t become close until later, according to the UGA head coach.
“It was not like a close relationship when we were here, because he was a fifth-year senior captain and I was a redshirt freshman, we were really in two different places,” Smart, who went from DB coach to coordinator at Valdosta State in 2001 when Muschamp was hired away to join Nick Saban’s initial LSU staff, said in an earlier interview.
“I mean, he was good to me, but it wasn’t like we had a friendship. We were at two different spots in our career.”
Smart and Muschamp reunited after Valdosta State when Nick Saban hired Smart as his secondary coach at LSU. Muschamp was already in Baton Rouge, serving his third season as defensive coordinator.
“Where we became closer was the opportunity he gave me to come to Valdosta State, and we worked together there, and then we worked together at LSU,” Smart said. “And those two years we spent in the same staff, we probably bonded more than we did while we were here.”
The dynamics of Smart’s relationship with Muschamp at Georgia could be interesting. Smart, no doubt, will use Muschamp as a resource while scouring the nation for the right secondary coach.
Smart has been interviewing candidates to take over the position vacated when Charlton Warren left to become defensive coordinator at Indiana.
The Bulldogs have a glaring need in the secondary with eight defensive backs having moved on from the program over the last years, including three transfers.
Safety Lewis Cine is the only starter returning who was in place at the start of last season.
Smart has not made himself available to the media since the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl postgame press conference.
New UGA athletic director Josh Brooks has declined comment at this time.