Quality Time for Kirby and the Family During the Season? Not as Much as He Would Like

August 29, 2019

ATHENS - Its the final night of sanity in an insane world. The Thursday before the first game of the season is the final dash - sprint even - for college football coaches and their families before the season truly starts. 

Time might be the most valuable resource of a college football coach. How much time should be spent on recruiting? How much time spent on development? How much film time? At what stage am I overthinking things? 

Oh, and did I take the trash out? The task of juggling family life with the reality of being a coach is real. 

ATLANTA - Andrew Smart throws the ball to his brother Weston Smart during No. 1 Alabama's 35-28 win over No. 4 Georgia during the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 1, 2018. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

“Every coach in America - any level - you sacrifice parts of your family,” Kirby Smart said Tuesday. “I spend countless hours in this building that I don’t get to be with my kids and my family.”

The No. 3 Bulldogs will travel to Vanderbilt Saturday for a prime-time season opener on ESPN at 7:30 PM. This month the Bulldogs have jumped through the hoops of football camp. Then school started at UGA in the middle of August. Preparations for the game with Vandy started late last week.

ATLANTA - Georgia WR Riley Ridley plays with two of Kirby Smart's children during No. 7 Georgia's 38-7 win over Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 25, 2017. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

The non-stop grind from the Fourth of July on means it’s tough for coaches like Smart to spend lots of time with his kids. He says it is critical for him to take advantage of that time - even though it isn’t as much as he would like.

“When I do get to spend time with them I have to be present. It has to be quality time. It has to be quality over quantity,” he said. “They understand the sacrifices. There are a lot of benefits that come with it, too.”

Smart’s family often greets him after games. It’s not abnormal to see his youngest sons throwing the football around with UGA players before games - even big games. Smart said that his job doesn’t easily create the atmosphere to “turn off” or not think about football during this time of year.  

ATHENS - UGA coach Kirby Smart talks with his son Andrew Smart who is on the shoulders of Georgia RB Brian Herrien during No. 5 Georgia's 45-21 win over Georgia Tech at Sanford Stadium on November 24, 2018. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

“It’s hard to turn off during the season because you have recruiting. You got this (or that). You are always thinking about what might happen in the game. What are you going to do next? It is definitely hard to turn off.”

The fourth-year head coach warns that those who don’t learn how to switch football off for moments during the season are making big mistakes. 

“If you don’t (turn off) you have to be careful because you are going to burn yourself out and not get rest. That’s not good, either. You have to find a happy medium. And most of the time it’s really intense - stressful - up to Thursday. I say when the hay is in the barn you have to let it go. And you have to go play. You have to rest a little bit and recover so that you can sharp on game day,” he said. 

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