Georgia football coach Kirby Smart, AD Josh Brooks receive contract extensions

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia has given contract extensions to football coach Kirby Smart and athletic director Josh Brooks, announcing both on Thursday afternoon, a message of alignment between the school and its powerful football program.

Smart received a two-year extension through Dec. 2033, a $1.75 million raise. He will $13 million per year, with bonuses up to $1.55 million.

After winning the national championship two years ago, Smart signed a 10-year contract in 2021 that totaled $112.5 million, At the time, it made Smart the highest-paid coach in college football, but Alabama’s Nick Saban and then Clemson’s Dabo Swinney signed new deals that slightly surpassed it.

Saban has retired, but Swinney is due to earn $11.5 million this year, a little more than Smart’s previous deal called for this year. In the two years since Smart signed his previous deal, Georgia won a second straight national championship, then went 13-1, losing in the SEC Championship Game and missing the College Football Playoff.

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Georgia is 94-16 under Smart, who turned 48 last December.

Brooks, 43, received an extension for one more year, so it now runs through 2030 with an annual salary of $1,275,000, increasing by $100,000 each year of the agreement. There are bonuses of up to $200,000 for top-20 finishes in the NCAA Director’s Cup standings and overall academic performance. His contract, which was amended last year, called for him to earn $1.25 million this past year with a $100,000 raise during the next five years of the deal. That put him around the average to lower end of SEC athletic directors.

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AD Josh Brooks, quarterback Stetson Bennett and coach Kirby Smart celebrate Georgia’s second straight national title in 2023. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Pairing the contracts together is notable because Brooks didn’t hire Smart, and the football program has been one he largely has been able to leave alone. Since Brooks was elevated to athletic direction in January 2021, replacing Greg McGarity, most of his time has been spent on coaching decisions for other programs at Georgia. Fourteen of the 19 varsity sports in Georgia’s athletic department have changed coaches under Brooks.

The most recent was gymnastics, a once-dominant program that has slipped during the last two years. Brooks fired Courtney Kupets-Carter after seven seasons and hired co-coaches Cecile Canqueteau-Landi and Ryan Roberts.

The baseball program is in its first year under Wes Johnson, hired to replace Scott Stricklin, fired after 10 years. Two years ago, Brooks fired men’s basketball coach Tom Crean after four seasons and replaced him with Mike White, who got the Bulldogs to the NIT Final Four this past season. In women’s basketball, Joni Taylor left two years ago to become the coach at Texas A&M and was replaced by Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, who has gone 34-30 in two seasons.

The most successful coaching change so far under Brooks has been in women’s soccer: Billy Lesesne was let go in 2021 after seven seasons and replaced by Keidane McAlpine, who coached the team to the 2023 SEC championship and the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

There were also retirements for longtime coaches in swimming and diving (Jack Bauerle in 2022), men’s tennis (Manny Diaz this year), women’s tennis (Jeff Wallace in 2023) and softball (Lu Harris-Champer in 2021).

Georgia ranks 20th in the NCAA Director’s Cup through this year’s winter standings, but the school usually sees an uptick after the spring sports.

Georgia finished seventh in last year’s NCAA Director’s Cup standings, the all-sports measurement. Georgia was 19th the previous year and 10th for the 2020-21 school year (Brooks took over halfway through that year).

(Top photo of Kirby Smart: Sam Navarro / USA Today)

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