Kirby Smart confirms new coaching hires, addresses possible shuffling of roles
ATHENS — Georgia head coach Kirby Smart not only added six players on Wednesday, but a couple coaches: Scott Fountain and Cortez Hankton.
“We’re excited about both the guys coming on the staff,” Smart said, confirming the hires of both, which were reported earlier in the day.
Georgia is set to hire Hankton, who has been the receivers coach at Vanderbilt the past three years. That will likely means a new role for James Coley, who coached Georgia’s receivers the past two seasons. It could also mean a shuffling around of responsibilities for other players.
“We’ll determine that in the coming weeks,” Smart said. “We’ve got a lot of possibilities there, because a lot of guys have worked with a lot of different positions.”
Hankton comes to Georgia after not only three years at Vanderbilt, but two at Dartmouth as the receivers coach.
“He’s a very intellectual guy,” Smart said. “He also played the position. And anytime you played the receiver position I think it helps you tremendously with kids. He was an overachiever as a player. I mean here’s a guy that played on several teams and kept making teams. He made them with toughness, his route-running, his special teams play. And those are all things we want in our wide receiver room.”
Fountain is returning to UGA after one month away. Fountain spent the 2017 season in Athens as a special teams analyst, then was hired by Mississippi State as special teams coordinator. He has been re-hired at Georgia after the departure of special teams coordinator Shane Beamer, who left for Oklahoma.
When the special teams job opened up, Smart was eager to bring Fountain back.
“He was probably one of the biggest assets in our program last year,” Smart said. “Everybody’s made a big deal about the turnaround in special teams. He was really responsible for coaching our coaches. He was able to bring us, and me, some ideas to how we practice. Some innovative things that he’s done, changing what days we did different things. And just organizational things that I thought really helped us. And with that, we were able to move up in special teams rankings and do better. To have him back is phenomenal for us.”
Fountain has also “proven to be a really good recruiter” in Georgia and Florida, added Smart, who places a lot of value on recruiting ability.
There’s also another beneficiary to Fountain and his family staying in Athens.
“I know the coach at Prince Avenue (Prep) is really excited because he gets his kids back,” Smart cracked. “So he’ll have two starters returning there.”