Georgia coach Kirby Smart took time during his Sugar Bowl press conference to offer his appreciation for Mark Richt as the former Georgia coach announced his retirement from Miami on Sunday.

Smart was hired at Georgia by Richt in 2005 to coach running backs, and it led to him meeting his wife and coaching on the offensive side of the ball, which Smart said gave him a different perspective. Before that 2005 season, Smart was a defensive backs coach at LSU, and previously a graduate assistant at Florida State after he was a defensive assistant at Valdosta State.

“Neil Calloway was the offensive coordinator, and Mike Bobo was the quarterbacks coach. And they fought to hire me when there was a defensive position on the staff I didn’t get hired for, Mark had enough confidence in me as a coach and recruiter to hire me as running backs coach,” Smart recalled. “It’s one of the most valuable years of my career because it was the most different, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity were it not for him and his wife Katharyn. What they’ve done for the city of Athens and the University of Georgia is incredible, and they’re great people.”

Of course, since his first stint as an assistant in 2005, Smart went on to coach with the Miami Dolphins, and later with Alabama before he returned to his alma mater in 2016 following Richt’s dismissal.