Kirby Smart – Chaos and Flips

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Kirby Smart – Chaos and Flips

Kirby Smart speaks at Butts-Mehre #NSD16
Kirby Smart speaks at Butts-Mehre #NSD16
Photo: Greg Poole/Bulldawg Illustrated

When asked by a report about his adjustment from being a coordinator to head coach, Smart interrupted the question with a one word response, “Chaos”.

Then he elaborated:

“To me it’s the time constraints, trying to manage the situation I was in, dealing with the whole recruiting process, hiring of staff, trying to win a national championship and contribute to the players that I had. We’ve kind of been there, done that, we’ve been over it. The last two weeks have been a blessing in disguise because I get to go out and do what I love to do and go recruit and see all of the relationships that I’ve had over the years and all the people that say `hey man, you’ve done it the right way, you were patient.’ You see all your mentors, all the people that I’ve had a relationship with through my dad. That meant more to me and going out to try to sign the kids. I was comfortable with that. As far as the work hours and the demands and the stress level, I think it was a great start to be doing all of that at once. Now it feels like it’s easing off because you had the pedal to the metal to start out. It was a challenge to do all of that early on.”

When asked how he was able to flip two recruits from other programs in his short time as head coach, Smart responded:

“Recruiting is a constant process. If a kid is committed to you, you are the target. He’s not committed to you, you are the target and you have to know that. Every one of the kids who committed to us, you’ve got to stay on the phone with, continue to talk to. People don’t see the commitment as it’s over. Until a guardian or a kid says `It’s done, that’s it, I’m done talking.’ A lot of those kids that you’re talking about, I had a relationship with or a personal relationship with for the last three or four years. That relationship was close enough and the opportunity I was allowed to get them to come to a great university and sell this place as a great academic institution, a place for life after football, that kind of won those kids over. To me it’s more about selling the University of Georgia to the kids. We did that with all kids. You’re going to strike out 10 times to get one guy, two guys. That’s just the law of averages. Those were just the two that hit that there was a good relationship there. There were a lot of other kids that we attempted but didn’t get.”

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.