Kirby Smart rattled off the names of his mentors on Monday in his first press conference as head coach at UGA. His father, Sonny, was a high school coach in Georgia. Alabama coach Nick Saban was another name he referenced for obvious reasons.
Dan Quinn’s name also came up. That was unexpected, but Smart said he appreciated how the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons also reached out to him after he got the job.
“He called and said ‘Hey look if there’s anything I can do to help you (because) I went through a similar process’ when he was with the Seahawks and also trying to take over the Falcons. He talked about time management and managing your time in the right way and spending every free moment that you have and how people help you. I’ve got a great organizational structure here already in place who can help me time wise and have calls set up and ways for me to manage it better and utilize that time so you can be fair to both places.”
Quinn was the defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks last year before he took the Falcons job. He was still on a championship run through the NFL playoffs and wasn’t hired in Atlanta as head coach until his duties were finished with his former team.
That’s not exactly the same as what lies ahead for Smart as he serves as defensive coordinator for Saban at Alabama through the remainder of the College Football Playoff.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.