For UGA Head Coach Kirby Smart, it’s good to be home. Since returning to Athens, Coach Smart has brought a renewed excitement to the Bulldog Nation. Along with his impressive coaching staff and some of the nation’s top players in college football, Smart is pumped for the 2016 season to get underway.
Coach Kirby Smart sits down with South Magazine to talk about returning to UGA and his commitment to the game.
South magazine: How did it feel to walk into Sanford Stadium at the 2016 Spring Game?
Kirby Smart: It was a very different feeling. It was unique because of the number of people that attended. I had no idea we would achieve it but I’m glad we did. We threw the challenge out there and I wanted to get more than we’d been getting in the past. I knew the people of Georgia were hungry and excited. Plus, we had a great TV time, so we had a lot of people who could travel and get there for the game. When I walked out there I was a little awestruck. Even the stairwells and rafters were packed.
SM: It seems like a brand new day at Georgia… new coach, new dog, new players.
KS: It is an exciting time. Being an alumnus, I’ve had a lot people that I’ve known throughout the years reach out to me and they’re excited about the opportunities in front of us. I think sometimes when there is change, it brings about new energy and that’s good for all parties involved. I know Coach Richt is going through that same rejuvenation at Miami. That’s where he played and so it’s special to him. Rejuvenation and change can bring about that energy.
SM: What do you think is unique about Georgia football?
KS: There’s a spirit of oneness of great competitiveness. And there’s state pride. It’s serious here. It starts at the high school level and it’s so unique in Georgia. There’s such passion and energy. A lot of other states may have that but they don’t have the same community support. The high schools players carry that pride up to the University of Georgia. Many of our great players come from these great programs.
SM: If your players could sum you up in one word, what do you think it would be?
SM: What is one thing you wanted UGA fans to know about you?
ks: I won’t sleep until I know the job is done. There will be a relentless pursuit of doing things the right way and building a culture and organization that was founded on those pillars. It’s really important here that we do it the right way.