Kirby Smart didn’t have time to relax after his Georgia Bulldogs won the College Football Playoff National Championship in January.
Along with constant recruiting, Smart has been tasked with hiring four new on-court assistant coaches to fill vacancies over the past two months.
Smart hires include:
WR Coach Bryan McClendon – replaces Cortez Hankton, left for LSU
OL coach Stacy Searels — replaces Matt Luke, who retired after the season
DB Coach Fran Brown —replaces Jahmile Addae, gone to Miami
Chidera Uzo-Diribe, OLB coach —replaces Dan Lanning, who became Oregon head coach
McClendon and Searels are very familiar recruits, as they both coached at UGA under Mark Richt and have pre-existing relationships with Smart.
Smart also hired former Georgia quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to an analyst position this offseason.
Smart mentioned that he sought advice from some of his seasoned assistants and named Glenn Schumann, Tray Scott and Dell McGee as coaches with whom he discussed hires throughout the process.
“We went through an interview process at each position,” Smart said. “We have interviewed several people in each position, are thinking about what is best overall for our program, for our culture that we have built here, taking advice from the staff coaches here for a long time, Dell McGee, Glenn Schuman. These guys were part of our program. Scott Tray. They are the culture. We want people who want to be here and want to be part of it.
It is very demanding what is required of university coaches. You’ve seen guys go to the NFL, you’ve seen guys go out, you’ve seen guys go somewhere else, but that’s never going to change at the University of Georgia. The level of excellence you want to have in recruiting and time spent with your players, and these four people meet that criteria.
They are also people I trust and some I have known, others I have not known. But the ones we didn’t know we did a lot of research and thought were the best for the job.
Here’s a look at the new recruits in more detail.
WR Coach Bryan McClendon
Georgia hired Bryan McClendon as receivers coach in January, replacing Cortez Hankton who left for the same position at LSU.
McClendon is a graduate of Mays High School (Atlanta) who was a catcher for the Bulldogs from 2002 to 2005 before becoming a graduate assistant coach.
McClendon coached running backs and receivers in his first stint at Georgia under head coach Mark Richt, then served as interim head coach in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl after Richt left.
Smart brought McClendon back to Athens just four weeks after McClendon was named offensive coordinator and receivers coach in Miami under new coach Mario Cristobal, who brought McClendon with him to Miami from Oregon where he held the same position.
Prior to his move to Eugene, McClendon coached three seasons at South Carolina where he served as offensive coordinator and receivers coach and was eventually named offensive coordinator in 2019.
McClendon brings his recruiting prowess and experience to Georgia’s reception hall, which is looking to replace some serious talent
OL coach Stacy Searels
Georgia hired Stacy Searels in February to replace Matt Luke as offensive line coach. Searels – who coached the Bulldogs offensive line from 2007 to 2010, working under Mark Richt at the time – recently completed his third season in the same role at Chapel Hill under Mack Brown.
Prior to working at UNC, Searels again coached under Mark Richt with the Miami Hurricanes, serving as offensive line coach from 2016 to 2018.
His resume over the past 30 years is impressive:
1992-93: Auburn (LW)
1994-2000: Status of Enforcement (OL)
2000-02: Cincinnati (OL)
2003-06: LSU (OL)
2007-10: Georgia (OL)
2011-13: Texas (OL)
2014-15: Virginia Tech (OL)
2016-18: Miami (OL)
2019-21: UNC (OL)
Searels started for three years at Auburn in the 1980s and earned first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press and Football News as a senior in 1987.
DB Coach Fran Brown
Huge loss for Rutgers. Fran Brown is arguably the best New Jersey scout in the country. Brown should fit in well at Georgia. https://t.co/ZmkkhEmlSj
—Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) February 18, 2022
In February, the University of Georgia revealed contract details for new defensive backs coach Fran Brown, who UGA hired from Rutgers last week.
According to the Georgia Football Program, Brown’s salary at UGA will be $750,000 per season. He was making $675,000 at Rutgers and was expected to make $700,000 in 2022 had he stayed in New Jersey.
Brown spent his last two seasons coaching at Rutgers. Prior to the Scarlet Knights, he was the defensive co-coordinator at Temple, where he spent seven years as a coach, which saw a two-year hiatus to join the staff at Baylor before returning to the Owls program.
Chidera Uzo-Diribe, OLB coach
Smart discusses hiring Chidera Uzo-Diribe, whom he hired away from TCU.
“Chidera gives us great energy, enthusiasm, played the position, it’s easy to recruit outside backers and defensive ends at the University of Georgia because we’ve produced a lot of them. It’s also easy to recruit for him as he played the job with huge success, had a stint in the NFL. He has a very good record, a high character, very enthusiastic, and we have seen the impact on our players with what he has done.