ATHENS — Georgia athletics had more than $80 million available in reserves as of last fall. It will be dipping into that to reward its coaches for the run to the National Championship Game.
Kirby Smart is earning a base salary of $3.75 million this year, which is in the bottom half among coaches in an SEC that he won this season. But cry not for Smart, who is surely headed for a raise and already has banked plenty in bonuses.
Smart is due $800,000 in bonuses tied to success on the field, according to the contract he agreed to in December 2015.
UGA will pay Smart $600,000 for making the National Championship Game, and another $200,000 for a top-5 finish in the AP or coaches polls. Georgia finished second in both after losing to Alabama in overtime in the title game a week ago.
If Georgia had won the national title, then Smart would have earned another $400,000. His contract calls for up to a $1 million bonus tied to Georgia’s bowl and playoff fate. For instance, he would have made as little as $50,000 for making a lower-tier bowl, and earned $75,000 last year for making the Liberty Bowl.
Georgia assistant coaches also will receive a combined $877,000 for reaching the National Championship Game, according to a reading of their contracts.
The assistants have a bonus structure tied to their base salaries, though not their total salaries. (Many UGA coaches receive supplemental salaries on top of their base salaries.) By making the championship game, the nine full-time assistant coaches received 30 percent of their base salaries.
For instance, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is due $112,500, which is 30 percent of his base salary of $375,000. But Tucker’s total salary, including supplemental compensation, is $900,000. He is the highest-paid assistant coach on the staff this year.
Last year the staff received a combined $292,000 for making the Liberty Bowl.
Smart’s coaching staff does not appear to be changing much. Outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer departed after the championship game to become the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, and his replacement has been announced. Dan Lanning, a former Alabama staff member who most recently had been the inside linebackers coach at Memphis, will take over.
Smart also can hire a 10th assistant coach because of a change in NCAA rules. As of Sunday, he had not announced a move or what role he was looking to fill on the staff.