It appears that head coach Mark Richt is officially on the move to rebuild the Georgia Bulldog football program. The Tuscaloosa News is reporting that Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator of the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, has received a formal offer from the University of Georgia to fill the vacant position of the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator.
It is reported that Smart has received a written contract offering a figure well in excess of the almost $400,000 that he is now receiving at Alabama. Smart has not yet signed the contract.
For the past several weeks, rumors have been flying concerning contacts coach Richt has supposedly been making with numerous potential defensive coordinator candidates. The rumors have largely been debunked or at least minimized by the university.
During the bowl season, coach Richt quieted the rumors by stating that no formal offers would be made until after the bowls were finished. Out of all of the possible names that were speculated to be on coach Richt's short list, Smart's name was virtually always at the top.
As a former Bulldog himself, Smart was a four-year football letter winner for Georgia from 1995-98 earning First Team All-Southeastern Conference honors as a defensive back in 1998 and second team honors in 1997.
Serving as one of Georgia's team captains as a senior, he led the Bulldogs in interceptions over his last two years with six in 1997 and five in 1998. He still ranks among Georgia's all-time leaders in interceptions with 13.
He began his coaching career as an administrative assistant at Georgia in the fall of 1999, before moving to Valdosta State in 2000. In 2001, he served as the defensive coordinator at Valdosta State. Smart's 2001 defense at Valdosta State ranked second in the nation in scoring defense as the Blazers posted a perfect 11-0 mark during the regular season.
Between the 2002–2003 football season, Smart was a graduate assistant under Bobby Bowden at Florida State. Smart spent one season in 2004 under then-LSU head coach Nick Saban and then moved back to the Georgia Bulldogs football program as the team's running backs coach for the 2005 season.
Smart spent one season in the NFL in 2006 in which he served under Nick Saban again—this time as Miami's safeties coach.
When Saban was named the head football coach at the University of Alabama in 2007, Smart again followed Saban. In 2008, Smart was promoted as the Tide's defensive coordinator.
In December 2009, Smart was awarded the Broyles Award as college football's assistant coach of the year.
1 /10 UPDATE
According to Mark Schlabeck at ESPN, the contract offered to Smart is in excess of $700,000 per year for three to four years. That would make Smart the third highest paid assistant coach in college football behind only Monte Kiffin ($1.2m) and Will Muschamp ($907,000). If true, it would appear that UGA is not going to play games about getting Smart.