A General Assembly that has been sharply divided during the current legislative session came together Tuesday to honor Kirby Smart, head coach of the national champion University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Smart, who led the Dawgs to a 33-18 victory over the University of Alabama in January, brought the national championship trophy with him to the Georgia House and Senate chambers.
After being greeted with standing ovations and Dawg barks from lawmakers, Smart thanked Georgia’s political leaders for helping him do his job through their efforts to make the Peach State an attractive place to live and – for top-level high school recruits – to play college football.
“Our university wouldn’t be what it is without the people in this room,” Smart told members of the Senate from the chamber’s podium. “You’re part of this team. … The better you make the state, the better off our football team will be.”
Smart told members of the House his team already has begun spring workouts with an eye toward the 2022 season this fall.
He said the Dawgs can’t afford to dwell on the successes of last season and the championship win over Alabama and legendary coach Nick Saban.
“If you sit for too long, that guy on the other side of the border will catch up to you,” he said.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.