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Kirby Smart Contract, Salary, & Buyout Breakdown at Georgia

Last Updated: January 10, 2023
Dollar for dollar, Boardroom explains precisely what makes Kirby Smart’s contract with the University of Georgia Bulldogs one of the biggest in college football.

Games only get bigger than this when they have the words “championship” or “bowl” attached to them.

In what should amount to the SEC East title game, Georgia welcomes Tennessee to Athens for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, while the Volunteers own the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. A win for either team would dramatically increase their chances of being one of the final four college football teams in line to win the national championship.

For Georgia, the Bulldogs have really only been challenged once this year — a four-point win over Missouri. They’ve also drubbed No. 11 Oregon and outscored SEC opponents 213-59 this season. Kirby Smart has been their head coach since 2016, leading the Bulldogs to four SEC East titles and a national championship last year. That title earned him a massive contract extension that makes him one of the highest-paid head coaches in the country and just about guarantees he’ll earn over $100 million on this deal alone.

So how much is Georgia shelling out in this deal? And what would it take to fire him if things go south? Boardroom dives into the Kirby Smart contract.

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Kirby Smart Contract Overview at Georgia

Signed: Jan. 1, 2022
Term: Through 2031 season
Base Salary: $600,000

Kirby Smart Media Compensation
  • 2022: $6,250,000
  • 2023: $6,400,000
  • 2024: $6,600,000
  • 2025: $6,750,000
  • 2026: $6,900,000
  • 2027: $6,900,000
  • 2028: $7,100,000
  • 2029: $7,250,000
  • 2030: $7,400,000
  • 2031: $7,550,000
Kirby Smart Equipment Compensation
  • 2022: $3,400,000
  • 2023: $3,500,000
  • 2024: $3,550,000
  • 2025: $3,650,000
  • 2026: $3,750,000
  • 2027: $3,750,000
  • 2028: $3,800,000
  • 2029: $3,900,000
  • 2030: $4,000,000
  • 2031: $4,100,000

The media compensation figure is for Smart’s typical obligations with — you guessed it — the media. That includes pressers, radio shows, TV spots, and the like. It’s something we see in most contracts. The equipment compensation is pretty new, at least to Boardroom’s series on coach contracts. Smart’s contract defines that as compensation for his equipment endorsements.

Add together Smart’s base salary, media compensation, and equipment compensation, and he is due to make $10.25 million in 2022 before bonuses. Over the entire life of this contract, signed as an extension ahead of the 2022 season, his deal is worth a whopping $112.5 million, again, before bonuses.

For context, here’s how that compares to other coaches whose contracts Boardroom has analyzed so far this season:

*coach has since been fired

Kirby Smart Contract Buyout Details

For Smart, perhaps the best part of his contract is that it is almost entirely guaranteed (barring Smart terminating it himself or violating the terms of the deal with a massive scandal of some sort). If Georgia fires him prior to Dec. 31, 2026, it will owe him 100% of his remaining base salary, media compensation, and equipment compensation. If Georgia fires him after that date but before his contract expires, that 100% number drops to 85%. Still not bad.

Smart currently has the Bulldogs on target for a playoff appearance, so he’s not getting fired this year or next. So let’s say things really go sideways — somehow — and the university decides to part ways with him in December 2024. That would leave him with seven years left on his contract and a fully guaranteed buyout of $81,000,000.

Now, let’s say it takes a little longer than that and the university lets Smart go on Jan. 1, 2027. He would have four years and $58,750,000 left on his deal. Georgia would then only owe him 85% of that, or $49,937,500.

Potential Bonuses

In addition to his already hefty salary, Smart has the potential to earn up to $1.3 million in performance bonuses per season, laid out as follows:

  • $100,000 for reaching the SEC Championship Game OR $300,000 for winning the SEC Championship Game
  • $50,000 for reaching the Birmingham or Independence Bowl
  • $75,000 for reaching any of the following bowls: Outback, Taxslayer, Belk, Music City, Texas, Liberty
  • $100,000 for reaching the Citrus Bowl
  • $175,000 for reaching a New Year’s Six Bowl
  • $500,000 for reaching the College Football Playoff semifinal OR
  • $750,000 for reaching the National Championship game OR
  • $1,000,000 for winning the National Championship

As it stands now, Georgia is already bowl-eligible and a virtual lock to go to one of the bowls under Smart’s bonus structure. What Smart can ensure on Saturday, however, is a spot in the SEC Championship Game and the minimum $100,000 bonus that goes with it. A win over the Vols would put Georgia a game ahead, plus the tie-breaker, with two SEC games remaining against mediocre competition. If it happens, Georgia’s not giving that up.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.
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