Kirby Smart will soon be working with a new athletic director as Georgia AD Greg McGarity is stepping down at year’s end. Smart shared his thoughts on the McGarity news to open his Tuesday press conference.

“I’ll open probably first with a big thanks to Greg McGarity and the service he’s provided to the University of Georgia as athletic director,” Smart said. “He’s been a tremendous support to me, to our staff, to our program. He and his wife Sheryl have embraced Mary Beth and our family from day one when we got there. He’s been very supportive. He’s been awesome with different projects we’ve wanted to create and do. He’s been very supportive of that. He’s been somebody I can rely on to help. I appreciate Greg’s friendship and I’m happy for the next chapter for he and Sheryl’s life. They’ve been wonderful to the Smart and to the University of Georgia. So I appreciate him. That’s very important to me.”

Smart later received a question asking about his relationship with the athletic director and any specifics Smart hopes to see from McGarity’s successor.

“First and foremost, I think everybody should know that I have complete confidence in President Morehead,” Smart said. “He’s got a great relationship with myself and we talk about these things a lot of times. He’s appointed a wonderful group, an advisory committee that he’ll meet and consult with and they’ll come up with some ideas, candidates. They’ll search it through and I have complete faith, trust and confidence in them and also that I can communicate freely with President Morehead about it and I know they’ll make a good decision. It’s not something I concern myself with or that I’m worried about right now, I’m worried about playing Vanderbilt.”

McGarity has been at Georgia over 10 years, with Smart the most prominent hire of his tenure.