Sources: Georgia seeks Bama's Smart

Updated: January 10, 2010, 5:25 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Georgia Bulldogs officials have offered Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart a multiyear contract that would make him the third-highest paid assistant coach in college football, sources told ESPN.com.

Smart, 34, is a former defensive back at Georgia and coached at his alma mater during the 1999 and 2005 seasons. He has been a member of Nick Saban's coaching staffs for all but one season since 2006.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that Smart hadn't yet made a decision as of Sunday morning. The source said Alabama officials have told Smart they would "do everything necessary to keep him."

Sources told ESPN.com that Georgia has offered Smart a contract worth more than $700,000 annually. It is believed Georgia's offer is at least a three-year contract.

Even if Smart stays at Alabama, he is expected to join the sport's highest-paid assistants, after earning $369,350 last season. Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is the country's highest-paid assistant, earning $1.2 million per season. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, who last year was named coach Mack Brown's eventual successor, makes $907,500 annually.

Under Smart's direction, Alabama finished No. 2 nationally among FBS teams in total defense (244.1 yards per game), pass-efficiency defense (87.6 rating), scoring defense (11.7 points per game) and run defense (78.1 yards per game).

The Crimson Tide defeated Texas 37-21 in Thursday night's Citi BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.

After that game, Smart told ESPN.com that he hadn't spoken to Bulldogs coach Mark Richt in several weeks.

Georgia has been searching for a new defensive coordinator since Dec. 2, when Richt fired longtime coordinator Willie Martinez. Georgia finished 38th in total defense (339.3 yards per game) and 63rd in scoring defense (25.9 points). The Bulldogs allowed 30 points or more five times in 2009.

Smart is a native of Bainbridge, Ga., and his wife, the former Mary Beth Lycett, is a former Georgia women's basketball player.

Mark Schlabach covers college football and college basketball for ESPN.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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