Back in 2012, the Auburn Tigers were looking for a new head coach and decided to interview then-Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
However, before the interview, Smart promised Alabama coach Nick Saban that he’d stay on the Crimson Tide staff through the national championship game.
In a new profile piece from ESPN’s Chris Low, Smart explained his promise to Saban and why it was important to him:
“I promised [Saban] that I would stay on at Alabama to coach through the national championship game if I got the job,” Smart told ESPN. “It was important to me to finish what I started.”
Though Auburn was impressed with Smart, the school decided to go with Gus Malzahn instead. According to the story, Smart said outgoing Auburn AD Jay Jacobs was uncomfortable with the idea of Smart staying as Alabama’s coordinator for an extra month:
“The others on the search committee [Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan] were good with it, I think, but I don’t think Jay could ever get past the thought of the Auburn coach coaching at Alabama for another month and all that went into that,” Smart said. “I get that, and the truth is it worked out the way it was supposed to. My experience is that it usually does.”
Malzahn is on the hot seat right now and may need to win games against Georgia and Alabama to save his job.
Smart, on the other hand, has Georgia at No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings in just his second year at the helm of the program. If Auburn loses to the Bulldogs on Saturday, it’s safe to say fans will once again regret missing out on Smart in 2012.
Check out Low’s full profile on Georgia’s talented coach here.