At some point soon, Kirby Smart is going to get a new contract from the University of Georgia. I’m not sure exactly what’s taking so long, but we know it’s going to happen.
It does seem to be taking a bit longer than necessary. The day after Gus Malzahn’s Auburn Tigers got beat by Georgia in the SEC Championship game, Malzahn got a new deal to keep him from going to Arkansas. Do we need to make up a rumor that a team in Vince McMahon’s new football league wants to sign Smart to get this thing done?
Georgia did take care of Smart’s assistants, mainly since some were targeted by other programs. That’s what happens when you win. Others want to steal your coaches. But it really shouldn’t take another team wanting Smart to make sure he is taken care of financially.
Now, I’m not worried about Smart not paying his utilities in March, but this is all about what someone is worth. And Smart has proven his value and is set up for a big raise.
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They’re going to do this because if they didn’t, there might be a riot in Athens. Smart has finally gotten the Georgia football program to where it’s needed to be for so long. Some wondered who could make that happen, and in two short years Smart has proven he’s the man to get it done.
His work is not done, obviously. By getting to the National Championship game and coming up just a bit short, Smart’s work has only begun. And that’s why his new contract needs to be done as soon as possible.
Why wait? Why not open the checkbook? Let Smart fill in the amount. He’s proven his value in two quick years, and the Georgia fan base seems convinced the best is yet to come.
Smart earned $3.753 million last season and then more than a million more with incentives reached with Georgia’s great season. With others receiving new deals, Smart’s base salary has fallen behind a bit, and that’s what Georgia’s administration needs to fix.
Jimbo Fisher will make $7.5 million per year the next 10 seasons to coach Texas A&M. He won a national title at FSU, so that’s part of the reason. But Dan Mullen will get $6 million per year to coach Florida, and Jeremy Pruitt, a first-time head coach like Smart was two years ago, will get $3.8 million to coach at Tennessee.
Smart should certainly get as much as Mullen, who was good at Mississippi State but never came close to a championship.
Contracts are redone all the time. There’s no telling how many times Nick Saban’s deal has been restructured, but it’s likely happened after every championship he’s won. When coaches excel, as Smart did last year, they need to be rewarded.
Georgia has found a coach who could be there forever. He’s a Bulldog, through and through, and there is no reason to give him any angst for the contract to not be done yet. That’s why this should be a priority with the Georgia administration.
Smart outlined his plan when he came of how he was going to make this program a champion, and so far, it’s playing out perfectly. He’s drastically improved the talent level, with two straight great signing classes, and Smart has made player development a huge priority. The results were a trip to the championship game.
So now, Smart needs to be rewarded. There’s plenty of money in the Butts-Mehre Building, and it’s time to use some of it to write Smart a big fat check.
Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on “Middle Georgia’s ESPN” – 93.1 FM in Macon and 99.5 FM in Warner Robins. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at email@example.com.