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Smart says no to UGA

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will remain with the national champion Crimson Tide, turning down the same position at alma mater Georgia.

Smart, whose decision was announced Wednesday, received the Frank Broyles Award in December as the nation's top assistant coach. The Alabama defense ranked No. 2 in total defense at 244 yards per game and in rushing defense at 78 yards per game. It was also second in scoring defense, giving up an average of only 11.7 points per game while going 14-0.

Smart was an All-SEC defensive back at Georgia, where he began his career as an administrative assistant in 1999. He was the Bulldogs' running backs coach in 2005.

"I wouldn't even have considered discussing the position with any other school but when it is a place I've spent some of my best years and had some great memories, I thought it was something I should discuss with my family and figure out what was best," Smart said in a statement.

He has worked with Alabama coach Nick Saban at both LSU and the NFL's Miami Dolphins, returning to college football with Saban three years ago.

"We love it in Tuscaloosa, have made some great friends here and I think we are building something special here at Alabama with coach Saban," Smart said. "I have learned so much in the time I've spent with coach Saban, and every year I feel like I become a better coach."

Saban said Smart has done "a fabulous job" for the Tide and called him "one of the finest assistant coaches in the country."