UGA's Kirby Smart reclaims title of college football's highest-paid coach

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart raises the National College Football Championship Trophy after the Bulldogs defeated the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2023 NCAA College Football National Championship. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI

May 2 (UPI) -- Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart on Thursday resumed his title as the highest paid coach in college football.

The University of Georgia said Thursday it raised Smart's salary to $13 million a year and extended his contract for two more years.

"I continue to be grateful and humbled by our administration's commitment to our football program," Smart said in a statement. "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," he said.

Smart first became the highest paid college football coach in the country in 2022, when he signed a 10-year, $112.5 million contract with UGA, but Alabama's Nick Saban and Clemson's Dabo Swinney just a month later beat him for the title.

Saban retired in January, and Smart's jump to $13 million suggests he may hold the title for longer now.

Smart, who is entering his ninth season as Georgia's coach, has led the Bulldogs to capture consecutive championships in 2021 and 2022, as well as an SEC-record 29 straight games before the team lost the SEC championship to Alabama last season.

The Bulldogs also have produced 49 NFL draft picks in the past five years, more than any in the nation.

The team is on track to be the preseason No. 1 team entering the 2024 season.

Athletic director Josh Brooks pointed to Smart's success on the field as justification for his raise.

"I'm sure you will agree with me that his leadership of our program has been tremendous. This new contract is well-deserved," Brooks said in a video conference.

Brooks on Thursday also received a raise of $1.275 million annually and a contract extension through 2030.