Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has proven his great value as the Bulldogs' program leader, and it's time for UGA to pay him for it. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia should pay Kirby Smart at least $10 million a year -- and feel good about it

Now would be a good time for Georgia to announce the terms of Kirby Smart’s pending contract extension, which is believed to be in the 10-year, $100 million range.

Compared to the $12.5 million Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski made last season, and $13.7 million he was recently revealed to have made in 2020, Smart looks like a bargain!

There’s no need for UGA to wait and pull a Friday afternoon “news dump” to downplay the salary news or slide the particulars out on a holiday weekend with hopes fans won’t take note.

Fact is, paying Smart a pretty penny is something to advertise. It shows the college football world just how invested Georgia is in its head coach and football program.

Smart, whose current contract runs through 2024, made approximately $7.8 million last season, including $800,000 in bonuses related to winning the SEC East Division ($100,000) and CFP Championship ($700,000).

As his contract is currently written, Smart would receive a $200,000 raise next season, and that certainly won’t do after the Bulldogs’ historic success during the 2021 season.

RELATED: How Kirby Smart became the ‘King’ of college football

Pay the man

A case could be made that Smart should be the highest-paid college football coach after producing the richest NFL Draft class in modern era history and winning the championship.

Georgia football has come alive like no other SEC program, selling more championship gear within 24 hours of winning the CFP Championship Game than Alabama sold in the 30 days after winning the CFP title the year before, per a Fanatics global digital platform report.

Indeed, the UGA athletic department ranked fifth nationally for most revenue generated in the most recent pre-pandemic completion, at $174 million in the 2019 fiscal year, per a USA Today report.

RELATED: Josh Brooks invested into fans, comments on 2022 football ticket prices

While there’s no real threat for Smart to leave Georgia and go anywhere else, UGA athletic director Josh Brooks has made it clear his head coach deserves to be paid market value.

“Coach Smart came in with a vision and helped us develop that vision and cast his vision into facilities and what we needed to do to get caught up,” Brooks said at the $80 million football building dedication ceremony on Tuesday, per

“It was his vision and his leadership that got us to this point.”

Indeed, and Georgia will need Smart’s leadership to make the sort of decisions that will enable the Bulldogs to remain championship contenders.

High stakes

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