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Josh Brooks explains why Kirby Smart is worth every penny of new contract

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs05/31/24

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Being the highest paid in any field is an honor. It means you’ve done something to deserve your earnings. Typically, that “something” is tons of success. That’s the case for Kirby Smart, a two-time national champion and winner of almost 100 games in just eight seasons on the job at Georgia. Earlier this spring, Smart received an extension and a raise that brings his compensation to an average of $13 million over 10 years. According to UGA athletics director Josh Brooks, Smart is worth every penny.

“Obviously the market is set with what others are making but you also have to determine what the value is to your institution. What he’s meant to our institution, our city, our state: we have set fundraising records three years in a row now in athletics, and that is due directly to the success we’ve had in football,” Brooks told Paul Finebaum during an appearance on his show at SEC Spring Meetings. “People are donating more to secure their seats or move up their seats. The return on investment has been amazing. We think that is not just these last few years but in the years to come.”

Sometimes the decision to pay an employee that much money comes with criticism. Why is it that Smart is making that much – especially in an era now where the schools are focused on raising revenue to eventually pay out the student-athletes themselves? The decision to go deep into pockets to pay Smart though has been well received.

“Look, I don’t pay attention to social media things but I can tell you when people come to me, donors, fans, whoever, it’s all been positive,” Brooks said. “‘Thank you for securing our coach and locking him in for long term.’ That’s a commitment. For me, it’s also shown a commitment to him because he’s shown a commitment to Georgia. He’s not someone that leverages us or something like that. It’s an opportunity for to show a commitment to him and long term a commitment to him and his success.”

Smart is grateful. While absolutely deserving considering the success he’s had, he never imagined he’d be setting the standard for coaches across the country in terms of what the best get paid.

“I want to thank President Morehead, Josh Brooks and the Board of Directors for extending my contract at the University of Georgia,” Smart said in a statement shared after news of his new contract came out. “I continue to be grateful and humbled by our administration’s commitment to our football program. The current culture in collegiate athletics is ever-changing and as challenging as it has ever been, so I truly appreciate the leadership that our team is continually provided. I have an immense pride for representing my alma mater and look forward to that relationship continuing for many years to come.”

Smart’s Bulldogs enter the 2024 season as the favorite according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas to bring home a third title in four seasons led by the likes of quarterback Carson Beck, a plethora of weapons on offense and tons of talent on Smart’s signature defense. Georgia opens its campaign on August 31st against Clemson in Atlanta.

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