His name is Kirby Smart.
Colleagues and reporters might call him Coach. UGA fans will likely call him Coach Smart. That won’t work if he’s recruiting a player to UGA. He only wants them to call him one thing.
Kirby. That’s the ice-breaker Smart establishes with prospects right from the jump.
“Well he really asks you to to use his first name,” 4-star defensive tackle Michail Carter said. “When I first met him I was calling him ‘Coach Smart’ but to really break the ice and establish a great bond with him he tells us to call him Kirby. That’s how it starts when you meet him.”
Readers have weighed in on DawgNation reports about football recruiting under Smart. Isaac Nauta called him Kirby. Some readers thought that was rude, but Nauta was doing as he had been coached.
Then Julian Rochester did it. Everyone does it.
It is no wonder the man has had the level of recruiting success that he has to this point at Alabama and now, so far, at UGA.
It is unique. Can you imagine Derrick Henry referring to “Nick” when he ran down his thank you list at the Heisman Trophy ceremony?
First-name basis recruiting? Get used to it. That’s the new “Georgia Way” under Smart.
The name is Kirby. Use it as you would with a friend. Smart wouldn’t want a recruit, who he promises to mold into a better person and player, to call him by anything else.
What kind of atmosphere does that create? Check out this video to see how relaxed he can be hanging around the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker and a safety UGA needs to flip away from Florida.
— Feb The Month ✍ (@Iam__MW3) January 16, 2016
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.