10th assistant wins approval from NCAA, so what will UGA do?

Anthony Dasher, Editor
GA Varsity
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Radi Nabulsi

The NCAA's Division I Council on Friday passed a measure that will allow college football teams to add a 10th assistant coach, but it won’t be happening this year.

Instead, schools will have to wait until Jan. 9 of 2018 to make the hire.

So, what will Georgia do?

Head coach Kirby Smart has made a number of recent staff hires, including former Minnesota offensive coordinator Jay Johnson as an offensive analyst to assist offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.

Although there has been speculation that Johnson would be in line for the 10th job, Smart said Thursday that no promises have been made to anyone regarding the position.

“Obviously, if they do push on, we’ll try to make the best decision possible. But given there were no promises made to anybody that you’ll be the 10th assistant, we’ll look for the best available guy for our staff,” Smart told beat writers.

According to the rationale given by the NCAA, while there was talk of making the 10th assistant position available immediately, it was decided to wait until January to allow smaller schools with smaller budgets the opportunity to plan ahead.

Adding a 10th assistant wasn't the only proposal on the table.

The NCAA also passed a rule that will prevent anyone from hiring anyone associated with a recruit, like a parent, handler, or high school coach, for a two-year period before the student athlete's anticipated and actual enrollment at the school

Smart said Thursday he would not be a big fan of the rule, which is already in place for college basketball programs.

Like many critics, Smart feels the rule could keep teams from hiring quality coaches like Kevin Sherrer or Jeremy Pruitt, who were hired out of high school for staff positions before ultimately earning full-time roles as assistant coaches.

"I have a hard time with that, as a son of a high school coach and a guy who has seen tons of high school coaches go onto greater success," Smart said. "Kevin Sherrer, Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn, Jeremy Pruitt. The names go on and on.

"A lot of the best coaches I’ve ever been around have been high school coaches. We get ideas from them. I know a lot of you guys think those guys don’t know what they’re talking about. They face more of the offenses that we face, so they have to find ways to stop them and create plays. So, so many guys that I respect are now being cut out of it. Now, they’ll argue that they’re not being cut out of it, only the ones that have prospects. But is that fair to cut out a guy, because he has a prospect, from an opportunity to develop his career and move on. I think it’s cutting the lifeline out of our program base. I mean, where do we get our lifeline from? Are we gonna have to go to the NFL now and get coaches? Where do you develop coaches from? They develop from high school up."

However, Smart does agree with the main reason the rule was ultimately passed. He's not big on hiring a coach to gain a recruit, either.

"That doesn’t fire me up," Smart said. "I certainly don’t like hiring a guy to get a player, either. So it’s a fine line.’’

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