Kirby Smart is just 46 years old, with seven years on the job at Georgia. And yet, the Bulldogs coach is already among the most accomplished in co Eastern Oregon Mountaineers shirt llege foo Florida vs. Georgia Rivalry Shirts tball.
Smart finally broke through with a national championship in 2021, becoming only the fifth active FBS head coach with a national title. In beating Nick Saban's Alabama team in the 2022 CFP title game, Smart became only the second former Saban assistant to beat the master — albeit in his fifth try.
Either way, the future looks bright for Smart, whose excellence through five seasons in Athens — a 66-15 record, four 10-win seasons, 4-1 New Year's Day 6 bowl record, one SEC championship and one national title — has been rewarded with one of the richest contracts in college football history.
But, like his own mentor, Smart must now deal with an unintended consequence of success: losing assistants to head coaching roles.
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Smart has already produced four former Bulldogs assistants who are head coaches at the FBS level. Like Saban before him, Smart is now in a position to take on his former assistants on the gridiron.
To this point, Smart is undefeated against his former assistants. His latest assistant-turned-head coach — Oregon's Dan Lanning — can be the first coach to give Smart a loss. The first-year coach will lead the 11th-ranked Ducks against Smart's third-ranked Georgia squad in Atlanta to open the 2022 season.
With that, The Sporting News looks at Smart's rapidly growing coaching tree, and his record against former assistants:
Kirby Smart coaching tree
Mel Tucker (Colorado, Michigan State)
Tucker was among Smart's first hires when he took over at Georgia. He left his position as Alabama's associate head coach and defensive backs coach to take over as defensive coordinator and DBs coach at Georgia, a dual position he held from 2016 through 2018.
Following a three-year stint as an assistant at Georgia, Tucker made his first f Kentucky vs. Louisville Rivalry Shirts oray into head coaching at Colorado, where in 2019 he led the Buffaloes to a 5-7 record. Despite the sub-.500 mark, he was able to take over for Mark Dantonio at Michigan State, where he has gone 13-11 in two seasons.
Of course, his latest campaign was an impressive 11-2 showing, one in which the Spartans beat two New Year's Day 6 opponents (Michigan and Pitt), produced the Doak Walker Award winner (Kenneth Walker III) and won t Augustana Vikings clothes he Peach Bowl.
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Sam Pittman, Arkansas
Pittman was a long-time assistant coach even when he joined Smart's staff as the offensive line coach in 2016. He began coaching in the mid-1980s, holding various head coaching positions at the high school and junior college ranks. From 1994 through 2020, however, he never advanced past associate head coach.
That changed when Pittman finally got a chance to lead the Razorbacks (whom he coached as an assistant from 2013 through 2015) at the start of the 2020 season. Pittman led the program through a 3-7 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but still managed to keep his team competitive in losses (and even led the team to a 21-14 win over Mississippi State).
Arkansas' faith in Pittman paid off in 2021, as he led the Razorbacks to a 9-4 campaign, including wins over ranked opponents in Texas A&M and Mississippi State (and a competitive 42-35 loss to No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa). Pittman ended his season with an Outback Bowl win over Penn State, putting the stamp on the program's best season since going 11-2 in 2011.
Shane Beamer, South Carolina
Before Lanning, Beamer was the most recent coach from the Smart coaching tree to get his first head-coaching position. The son of long-time Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, Shane Beamer served as Smart's tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in 2016 and 2017.
He later joined Lincoln Riley's staff at Oklahoma, again coaching tight ends College Lacrosse Shirts while serving as associate head coach from 2018 through 2020. Beamer used those experiences to take over for Will Muschamp and Mike Bobo, who combined to lead the Gamecocks to a 2-8 record in 2020. (Muschamp and Bobo, both former Georgia players, are back in Athens on Smart's Bulldogs staff for the 2022 season.)
Beamer led an immediate turnaround in Columbia, S.C., getting the team to a 7-6 record for its first winning season since 2018. He also led the program to a win over North Carolina in the Duke's Mayo Bowl — the program's first bowl win since 2017.
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Dan Lanning, Oregon
Lanning is the latest Georgia assistant to move into a head coaching position. He, of course, had his hands all over Georgia's historically great defense in 2021, having served in that role from 2019 through last season. (He was also outside linebackers coach in 2018).
Unlike some of his contemporaries, Lanning i Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Shirts s not taking over a rebuild in Oregon: The Ducks are coming off a 10-4 season, which included a berth in the Pac-12 championship game and loss in the Alamo Bowl.
The Ducks hired Lanning at perhaps the perfect time, needing a defense that will be able to take on Lincoln Riley's offense in USC (for the next two years, at least). The Lanning era at Oregon, of course, starts against the man who helped make him a head coach.
Kirby Smart record vs. former assistants
Smart is entering his seventh season at Georgia, yet still has had a few run-ins with two former assistants (and soon to be a third). He commands a 3-0 record vs. Pittman and Beamer since 2020, and could improve his record to 4-0 with a win over Lanning in Mercedes-Benz Stadium to start the season.
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Smart could conceivably play all four of his assistants in 2022, starting with Lanning in the season opener; Beamer in Week 3; Pittman in the SEC championship game; and Tucker in bowl season.
If that doesn't come to pass, then Smart still could improve his record to 5-0 in 2022 against Lanning and Beamer.
Here are his former assistants' records against him:
|Coach||Teams||Record vs. Smart|
|Mel Tucker||Colorado/Michigan State||N/A|
|Shane Beamer||South Carolina||0-1|
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