Georgia officially names Bama’s Kirby Smart new head coach

In this Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015 photo, Alabama defensive coach Kirby Smart watches play against Florida during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game, in Atlanta. Georgia hired Smart as its new head coach on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, hoping he can accomplish what been routine for the Crimson Tide but eluded Mark Richt during his 15 years between the hedges. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

UPDATE (11:55 a.m.) –  Kirby Smart will continue in his current role as Alabama’s defensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff as he also begins work as Georgia’s coach.

Smart, the former Georgia player and assistant, returned to his alma mater on Monday for his introductory news conference. He was formally approved as Richt’s successor during a meeting by the Georgia athletic association executive committee on Sunday. He then quickly began meeting with Georgia recruits.

Smart will have about one week for more recruiting and his search for assistants before No. 2 Alabama begins practice for the playoff semifinal against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Eve. If Alabama plays in national championship game on Jan. 11 that could keep Smart from devoting his full attention on Georgia for more than a month.

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia has named Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as its new head coach.

Smart was formally approved as Mark Richt’s successor during a meeting Sunday by the Georgia athletic association executive committee.

Several media outlets reported that Smart would be the choice just days after Georgia announced it was parting ways with Richt, who was the Bulldogs’ coach for 15 years.

Richt has since taken a job at Miami’s coach.

Smart played at Georgia and has been Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama since 2008. The new coach turns 40 on Dec. 23 and was widely regarded as one of the top assistants in the country.

When Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity decided to make a change, it was clear that Smart was his top choice all along.

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