Athletic Director Josh Brooks is leading UGA’s negotiation with Smart’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, of Creative Artists Agency.
“It’s just going through the process, taking your time,” Brooks said. “This is an important contract for him and for us. It’s just all little details. It’s just typical stuff. Nothing out of the ordinary.”
Morehead simultaneously advised the group in executive session that he is recommending a pay raise for Brooks.
Smart currently makes $7.1 million annually in a contract that was reworked in 2018 and extended through the 2024 football season. Smart’s peers in the coaching business – that is, those who have won national championships or were hired by elite Power 5 football programs in the last year – have received 10-year deals that pay them upward of $10 million a year.
New USC coach Lincoln Riley, who left Oklahoma to take over Southern Cal’s football program, reportedly signed a 10-year contract worth $110 million, according to published reports, and currently is the highest-paid football coach in college athletics. LSU’s Brian Kelly is considered the SEC’s highest-paid coach after accepting a 10-year, $100 million contract to leave his job at Notre Dame.
Smart’s seven-year, $49 million deal placed him 10th nationally among college football’s highest-paid coaches as of December. That was before he led the Bulldogs to a 14-1 season and their first national championship in 41 years in Jan. 10 victory over Alabama.
Brooks, 40, is one of the youngest ADs in Power 5 athletics. When he succeeded the retiring Greg McGarity in January 2021, Brooks signed an employment agreement that pays him $700,000 a year, with annual raises of $25,000 due at the end of each academic year. That’s among the lowest in the SEC, according to Morehead.
“This is more about just recognizing that he’s had a great start and making a modest adjustment,” Morehead said. “We’re not at the point yet of doing a new contract. That probably comes in a year or so. But I think that what I want to signal and what our athletic board wants to signal is that for being the youngest AD in the Power 5, he’s gotten off to a sensational start, and we know that he’s got a bright and long future as athletic director at the University of Georgia. I think he’s doing a superb job in all respects.”