JBREAKING: just got off phone with Auburn source … the job is Kirby Smart’s to turn down. More on his interview here al.com/auburnfootball…
— SST Radio Show (@SSTRadio) December 4, 2012
Auburn had reportedly been interested in Charlie Strong and Bobby Petrino among others for the job, but according to a number of reports, the school that won the 2010 national title got the man they wanted and will pay Smart $3.2 million in the first year of his contract.
On Monday I wrote about Auburn interviewing Smart with the bitter in-state rivals, and found the notion to be somewhat shocking that he would leave for Auburn.
It’s not surprising that he would leave, because Smart is talented and experienced enough to be a head coach in the SEC having worked under the game’s best head coach Nick Saban for a number of years, but the idea he would leave for the Tigers was one I didn’t think would come to fruition.
However, the last Auburn coach that played for the Georgia Bulldogs as Smart did, and later coached at Alabama was former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who is the school’s third all-time winningest coach and a winner of four SEC championships, so the move isn’t without precedent–and success.
I wonder how Alabama fans feel about this potential move, because they lose their defensive coordinator before their BCS National Championship Game next month to their rival–even if its’ widely acknowledged Saban runs the defense–it’s still a blow.
However, at the same time their rival just hired a coach with zero head coaching experience and can trust Nick Saban to run the defense at a high level and replace Smart with a highly regarded defensive assistant.
Smart would inherit one of the worst offenses in the nation, but has a strong group of defensive talent committed to coming to Auburn and the hiring of Smart I would think only strengthens that commitment.
Auburn is coming off a 3-9 season and fired Gene Chizik two years after winning the national championship and was winless this season in the SEC.
I can’t wait for next year’s Iron Bowl and the post-game handshake with Nick Saban if this is true.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.