ATHENS — Kirby Smart, who will not join Georgia on a full-time basis until Alabama’s season is over, said both of his new bosses – UGA president Jere Morehead and athletics director Greg McGarity – were fully supportive of the decision.
Smart will recruit for Georgia over the next week, then re-join Alabama and coach its defense for as long as its season lasts.
“It’s very important to me that I finish things the right way over there,” Smart said on Monday. “A lot of those young man playing for the University of Alabama, I sat in their homes four and five years ago and convinced them to come to the University of Alabama. I don’t think it would be doing justice (for me) to turn and walk away from those kids.
“I think (UGA officials) support me in doing that, while at the same time honoring my duties here”
Alabama plays Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl – one national semifinal – on Dec. 31. If the Crimson Tide win, they would play in the national championship on Jan. 11.
The timing isn’t ideal for Georgia, but Smart won’t actually miss out on any official recruiting: The dead period begins on Dec. 14, at which point Smart will return to bowl preparation for Alabama. And the recruiting period begins again on Jan. 13, two days after the national championship.
“It’ll be a challenge,” Smart said. “But a challenge I’m up to.”