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Georgia Football

BREAKING: UGA Football, Kirby Smart Agree to Massive New Contract

May 2, 2024

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ATHENS - UGA Football coach Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs formalized a contract extension on Thursday adding to the length of time Kirby has agreed to be in Athens. 

In his eight seasons at the helm of UGA Football, Kirby has led the Bulldogs to the 2021 and 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship, a 2018 CFP title game appearance, the 2017 and 2022 Southeastern Conference Championship, six SEC Eastern Division crowns, 94 wins and seven bowl game victories. 

The new two-year extension gives Smart a roughly $1.75 million raise, so he will be making $13 million per year with bonuses up to $1.55 million. This is the latest in a line of several (2018, 2022) contract extensions agreed to by Kirby and UGA. 

Kirby was named UGA Football’s head coach in December of 2015 - replacing Mark Richt, who had been the coach of the Bulldogs for 15 seasons and hired Kirby to his first full-time assistant job in 2005. 

According to a statement from UGA, Kirby’s "annual salary will increase to $13 million a year, making him the highest paid coach in college football. The length of his term now extends to December 31, 2033. This is an average increase of $1.75 million annually. Based on the new playoff structure, his maximum amount of bonuses per year will go from $1.3 million to $1.55 million."

Since his arrival in Athens, Kirby has transformed UGA football from a national power to one of the elite schools in the country - winning two of the last three national championships. Georgia’s rise to prominence started in Kirby’s second season in Athens. But this decade the Bulldogs have surpassed every other program in college football by winning half of this decade’s nation titles, being one of only three programs (Ohio State, Alabama) to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl each season. 

“The UGA Athletic Association and I are very pleased to extend the contracts of Josh Brooks and Kirby Smart,”  UGA President Jere W. Morehead said in a statement also pointing out an extension of AD Josh Brooks. "Coach Smart's unprecedented success is the definition of excellence for all of college football, and he has excited the Bulldog Nation about what is yet to come after winning two national championships. Josh Brooks has done a terrific job as Athletic Director and has positioned UGA Athletics to thrive in a rapidly changing college sports landscape. Both Kirby and Josh love this university as loyal graduates. I congratulate both of them and look forward to their continued leadership in the years ahead."

Since 2021, Kirby’s Bulldogs are the only program in the country to defeat seven of the eight programs that played for or won a national title since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014 (Clemson, Michigan, Oregon, Alabama, LSU and TCU).

Meanwhile, Georgia has finished the last three regular seasons in the SEC undefeated at 12-0. 

The retirement of Alabama’s Nick Saban coupled with the departure of former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh means Kirby is one of only three active college football coaches with national titles (Clemson’s Dabo Swinney; UNC’s Mack Brown).

Kirby was a scholarship football player at UGA from 1994-98. His wife Mary Beth was a scholarship women’s basketball player, playing over 100 games for Andy Landers’ Lady Dogs during that program’s heyday. 

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“I want to thank President Morehead, Josh Brooks and the Board of Directors for extending my contract at the University of Georgia,” Kirby said in a statement. “I continue to be grateful and humbled by our administration’s commitment to our football program. The current culture in collegiate athletics is everchanging and as challenging as it has ever been, so I truly appreciate the leadership that our team is continually provided. I have an immense pride for representing my alma mater and look forward to that relationship continuing for many years to come.”

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