UGA Football

Smart up for coach of the year award

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. AP

With Georgia enjoying a 9-1 season that has it in the College Football Playoff mix, head coach Kirby Smart has been named a semifinalist for the Georgia Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.

Smart is one of 16 coaches who are being considered for the honor. He is one of four SEC coaches being considered, with Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and Alabama’s Nick Saban also being considered.

Saban was the 2016 recipient of the Georgia Munger College Coach of the Year trophy.

The other coaches being considered are Matt Campbell (Iowa State), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Bill Clark (UAB), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Scott Frost (Central Florida), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic), Jeff Monken (Army), Mark Richt (Miami), Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma), Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), Dabo Swinney (Clemson) and Jeff Tedford (Fresno State).

Smart is in his second season with the Bulldogs and recorded an 8-5 record in his first year. Georgia jumped out to a 9-0 start that included being the No. 1 team in the first two weeks of the College Football Playoff poll. The Bulldogs, however, lost to Auburn 40-17 last Saturday and fell back to No. 7. Georgia has two games remaining on its regular-season schedule, with Kentucky up Saturday and Georgia Tech the following week.

Georgia will then play the winner of this year’s Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn in the SEC Championship on Dec. 2.

Smart is the latest Bulldog to find himself up for an award. Earlier Thursday, the Ray Guy Award announced Georgia punter Cameron Nizialek as one of 10 semifinalists.

On Wednesday, inside linebacker Roquan Smith was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player. Smith is also a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which also goes to the nation’s top defender. Smith and outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter are semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award, which is presented to college football’s best linebacker. Running back Nick Chubb is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the best offensive player in the country. Rodrigo Blankenship is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is handed to the best place-kicker in the nation.