Georgia officially names Kirby Smart as new head coach

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart directs a drill during NCAA college football practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Alabama is scheduled to play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(WIAT) — The University of Georgia has officially made Kirby Smart its new head football coach, the school’s athletic website announced Sunday morning.

Smart played for the Bulldogs from 1995-1998 and was a team captain as a senior. He has spent all nine season with Nick Saban at Alabama, the last eight as defensive coordinator.

“It’s an honor and privilege to return home to the University of Georgia and my home state,” said Smart. “I’m deeply appreciative of the faith President Morehead, Greg McGarity, and the Athletic Board Executive Committee have demonstrated in asking me to lead one of the truly great college football programs in the country. I also want to thank Coach Saban. I have been fortunate to spend 11 seasons with him as my mentor and have learned a tremendous amount from him as a coach and teacher. I’m honored and excited for the opportunity at Georgia and promise high energy, effort every day, and hard work every minute on the part of all our coaches, staff and student-athletes.”

Alabama will play in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31 against Michigan State in Arlington, Texas.

There is still no official word on if Smart will coach in the game. Cornerback Cyrus Jones said after the SEC Championship on Saturday that Smart would be staying. Other players said they were not sure what the decision would be.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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