Kirby Smart is the coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. He will lead his team onto the field Monday night against Alabama for the national title. Kickoff for the 2018 National Championship Game is set for 8:17 p.m. ET.
Smart is in his second season with the Bulldogs. He was the longtime defensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama.
Below are five things you might not know about Smart.
1. Kirby Smart is one of Georgia’s best defensive backs ever
Many Georgia fans are aware that Kirby Smart played for Georgia from 1995-98. But he was a very talented member of the Bulldogs at that. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, tied for sixth place in Georgia history. Smart saw Dominick Sanders, who is tied for the Georgia career record for interceptions with 16, leap over him in the record book this season. With an interception Monday night, he will break the tie with Bacarri Rambo and Jake Scott for the most all-time for Georgia.
2. Kirby Smart is one of the best recruiters in the country
He developed this reputation before he got to Georgia, but since taking the job, he has only enhanced that. Smart signed the No. 3 class in the country last season, and the Bulldogs have the No. 1 recruiting classes in the country for 2018 and 2019. Smart also flipped Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm from Alabama to Georgia.
3. Kirby Smart met his wife at Georgia
Like Smart, his wife also was an athlete at the University of Georgia. Mary Beth Smart, known then as Mary Beth Lycett, played basketball at Georgia from 1999-2003. They have three children: twins Weston and Julia, and a younger son, Andrew.
4. Kirby Smart did something Saban could not
Smart and Saban are very close, given that they worked together across three stops at LSU, the Miami Dolphins and Alabama. But as successful as Saban has been, he couldn’t do what Smart has done at Georgia in such a short period of time. Saban didn’t win the SEC championship until his third season at Alabama and didn’t play in the title game until that same year, either. Smart has done that in his second season at Georgia.
5. Kirby Smart and Nick Saban are very competitive with each other
One thing that Saban revealed recently is just how competitive the two coaches are with each other. And sometimes that even spilled over onto the basketball court.
“But in a competitive business like we’re in, where there’s always a next challenge, there’s always a next game, there’s always a better team to play, if you have that mindset, you’re not going to be able to play with any consistency, and if you can’t play with consistency in performance, you’re not going to really have a lot of success long-term,” Saban said.
“I hate to lose, and I’ve been around Kirby long enough and he’s been on my basketball team long enough that I know he hates to lose, too, and I think that has something to do with it.”
Smart will look to win his first national title, while Saban will be going for his sixth. Kickoff for the game is set for 8:17 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPN.