Kirby Smart Set to Coach CFP Title Game With a Heavy Heart
Sonny, Smart’s first coach and father, will be absent from the Dawgs’ effort to win a second consecutive national title due to medical difficulties.
In Los Angeles Kirby Smart is upset that his father Sonny Smart is not present. Due to health difficulties, Sonny was unable to participate in Georgia’s College Football Playoff run. He didn’t watch the Peach Bowl saga when the Bulldogs came from behind to defeat Ohio State, and he won’t watch them try to win another national championship against TCU on Monday.
Kirby Smart expressed a rare moment of vulnerability on Saturday, saying, “It kills me that he and my mom [Sharon] won’t be here.” This was in the midst of the impersonal and businesslike commotion of CFP media day. But I’m confident that it’s the best choice for him. There is nothing worse than seeing your parents age. It’s inevitable, just like paying taxes. They’ll age eventually. And that has been difficult.
Between the SEC championship game versus LSU and the Peach Bowl, Sonny’s health began to deteriorate, according to Kirby. Although his father hasn’t been spending as much time on the golf course as usual, football has taken up more of his time. Since his son took over as the Bulldogs’ head coach in 2016, Sonny hasn’t missed many home games or significant contests.
Kirby didn’t have a chance to phone his father after the Ohio State game because it ended so late—at exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve—that he couldn’t do so. Sonny was already asleep. On the way from Atlanta to Athens the following day, Kirby made sure to phone him, giving him another opportunity to speak basketball with the man who had taught him so much of it.
More than only Kirby’s father, Sonny Smart also served as his first coach. In South Georgia, Sonny coached high school basketball and amassed enough victories to be honoured three years ago into the Decatur County Athletic Hall of Fame. A tough, shrewd, and athletic defensive back who played for the Georgia Bulldogs and later helped his alma mater reach the heights of NCAA football was also raised by him.
Kirby remarked, “He’s taught me so much about how you handle situations, the correct way and the wrong way. “Control the things that you can. You can never be too prepared for a major moment. In high school, I always observed how he prepared our teams and staff. He was a very clever and understated man. As a coach, I made an effort to adopt his philosophy.
Although I’ve changed since starting to coach for other people, a lot of my fundamental principles were shaped by the way he oversaw our programmes in high school.
When Kirby was a child, the Bainbridge High Bearcats played a significant role in the thriving football scene in South Georgia. When he was younger, he recalls watching the Ducky Wall-hosted Friday night highlights programme on the Albany, Georgia, television station WALB. The football had a smaller impact in Kirby’s life, but it still held just as much significance.
Kirby recalled, “My dad and I would watch the other highlights every Friday night.” When I watched high school highlights on that channel, it was my “College Gameday.”
Bainbridge would travel 60 miles north to the major city of Albany (pop. 70,000), where there was a municipal stadium, several times a year to play games. If the stadium in Bainbridge was home, Kirby’s second home was there.
My dad’s teams had to travel there three, four, or five times a year, so I spent my entire life as a little gym rat running around Hugh Mills Stadium, Kirby recalled. “I felt at home there, I thought. The Atlanta Dome, where Georgia has recently played a number of games, was my Mercedes-Benz. Many wonderful recollections of South Georgia.
Kirby now has a “gym rat” son of his own. The youngest of Kirby and Beth Smart’s three children, Andrew Smart, spends as much time as possible with the Georgia squad. Long-legged Andrew was making an impressive number of end zone receptions before the Peach Bowl game against Ohio State, snagging passes that were thrown by a Bulldogs staff member.
Andrew’s presence offers the same intergenerational link to football that Kirby has with Sonny.
It’s fantastic, remarked Kirby. “I’m more concerned with my other two, Weston and Julia, because they don’t really care to be around it. They are older. They weren’t totally absorbed by it. They aren’t huge football fans. They don’t love football, but they enjoy the opportunities for travel and adventures that football affords.
“Andrew is a huge football fan. He enjoys interaction. He likes interacting with the athletes. He is considerably unlike them in terms of personality. It’s nice because I now have company, so that’s great. However, I have to put in a lot of effort to spend time with my other children because I am around football so much that I end up spending more time with him.
Whether he defeats TCU or not, Smart will be greeted by his family following the game. However, two family members will not be present and will be watching from home. Kirby Smart is aware of the inevitable nature of having elderly parents, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with. On Monday night, Sonny Smart, the retired coach who taught his son so much about the sport, will be missed.
Read also: U.S Paralympic champion sexually abused teammate lawsuit alleges