JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bryan McClendon said he did have discussions with Kirby Smart about remaining on staff. But as Georgia began practice here on Monday McClendon was a week away from joining the staff at South Carolina, ending (for now) a long career at Georgia.
McClendon, who will join South Carolina as receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator, was asked Monday how much he and Smart discussed the possibility of being retained.
“Those questions like that, I’d rather keep between me and Kirby,” said McClendon, who is serving as Georgia’s interim head coach through the TaxSlayer Bowl. “But we did have those discussions and it kind of ended up how it did.”
McClendon said he told the team about his impending departure back in Athens before the team broke for Christmas. This week the focus remains on Georgia, he said.
“The South Carolina’s stuff gonna come after this game,” McClendon said. “That’s how I’m approaching it, that’s how everybody’s approaching it, and so right now that’s where all the focus is going to be, on the University of Georgia. Right now I’m at the University of Georgia, and that’s where all my focus and energy is going to be.”
McClendon has been at Georgia almost non-stop for the past 15 years, playing receiver for the Bulldogs and then after a brief pro career returning to Athens as an assistant. He coached running backs, then moved to receivers this season.
But McClendon indicated the decision to leave for South Carolina was about business.
“You’ve gotta do what’s best for your family,” he said.
Senior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said the reaction among players was to be happy for McClendon.
“We saw that, and was like, All right that’s pretty cool for B-Mac, glad to see him getting a promotion,” Jenkins said. “Now it’s finishing strong through.”