Georgia close to finalizing long-term contract extension for football coach Kirby Smart

Georgia is close to finalizing a long-term contract extension with football coach Kirby Smart that will make him among the highest-paid coaches in the FBS.

Last season, Smart guided the Bulldogs to their first national title in 41 years with a 33-18 victory over Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Athletic director Josh Brooks discussed Smart’s new contract with the UGA athletics board at a meeting Thursday, although no action was taken. Details of the new deal weren’t disclosed.

Smart’s agent, Jimmy Sexton of Creative Artists Agency, couldn’t be reached for comment.

“It’s just going through the process, taking your time,” Brooks said in a statement Thursday. “This is an important contract for [Smart] and for us, so it’s just all the little details. It’s typical stuff, nothing out of the ordinary. We’ve worked closely with his agent, and it’s been a great process.”

Smart, 46, agreed to a seven-year, $49 million extension in May 2018 that almost doubled his compensation from his original contract. His current average annual pay of $7 million ranks sixth in the SEC, behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($10.6 million), LSU’s Brian Kelly ($9.5 million), Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($9 million), Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin ($7.25 million) and Florida’s Billy Napier ($7.1 million).

Apparently, Smart’s ranking is about to change.

“I think what we said is accurate,” UGA president Jere Morehead told reporters Thursday. “It will be commensurate with what you would expect compensation to be for a national championship coach, but we’re close to finalizing those arrangements. I don’t think anybody will be surprised.”

Smart, a former Bulldogs defensive back, has guided his teams to a 66-15 record in six seasons. His teams have reached the CFP twice and played in five straight CFP or New Year’s Six bowl games. During his tenure, Georgia has won four SEC East titles and one SEC championship, in 2017.

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