1999: Administrative assistant at Georgia
2000: Defensive backs coach at Valdosta State
2001: Promoted to defensive coordinator at Valdosta State
2002-2003: Graduate assistant at Florida State
2004: Defensive backs coach at LSU
2005: Running backs coach at Georgia
2006: Safeties coach for Miami Dolphins
2007-present: Defensive coordinator at Alabama
Current position: Defensive coordinator at Alabama
Philosophy: In four plus seasons as the defensive coordinator at Alabama, the Crimson Tide have had one of the nation's top defensive units year in and year out. In 2008, UA ranked third in total defense and seventh in total defense in the country. In the team's national championship season in 2009, Smart's defense ranked second in scoring defense, rush defense, and total defense. Despite replacing nine starters in 2010, the Alabama defense finished with the nation's third best scoring defense and the fifth best total defense.
Smart's 4-3 defenses are known for not only smothering their opponent, but also being fundamentally sound and having an immense amount of big play ability. He always puts a top notch defense on the field, and always seems to have them at the right place at the right time making game changing plays.
Why he may be hired
1. Championship level defenses: As alluded to above, Smart has consistently churned out some of the nation's top defenses year after year. In a conference known for its offenses, Smart's ability to produce elite defenses would set UA apart from other schools in the conference and give it a chance to compete for conference championships year in and year out.
2. Learned from the best: In his brief coaching career, Smart has worked under Nick Saban, Bobby Bowden, and Mickey Andrews, giving him a wealth of experience to draw from and a great group of coaches to draw his own style from. While his way of coaching will be unique to his mentors, Smart could not have picked a better group of men to learn from and prepare him for when he has his own team one day.
3. Exciting hire: Widely accepted as a head coach in waiting, the hiring of Smart would bring Arizona instant credibility as a team that is surely going to turn around quickly. Bringing Smart aboard would infuse some youth and excitement into the program, but would also boost the perception of the school nationally as a team that is sure to rise as quickly as its head coach's stock.
4. Recruiting: Alabama consistently pulls one of the nation's top recruiting classes annually, and Smart has played a crucial role in that success. With all of the relationships and skill on the recruiting trail Smart has picked up along the way, he would have a decent shot at making a big splash in the Pac-12 in his first few recruiting classes.
5. Proven winner: In his time as a coach, Smart has been a part of very successful teams that have accomplished some great things on the college football landscape. After everything the football program at Arizona has been through, an infusion of a winning attitude and a track record of success is exactly what Byrne is looking for from his new head coach.
Why he may not be hired:
1. Salary: In all of college football, only one assistant coach makes more money as an assistant than Smart's $850,000. With such a high starting point for Greg Byrne to be working with, Smart may demand a salary that he may not be willing to give to a coach with no head coaching experience.
2. May not be willing to leave Alabama: Smart has now been an assistant of Nick Saban for six years now, and he's turned down other coordinator positions and coaching vacancies to stick with the Alabama head coach. Arizona just may not be an attractive enough job to lure Smart away from Saban and Tuscaloosa.
3. Turmoil at Georgia: With all of the uncertainty surrounding Georgia, Smart may just be buying his time at Alabama until Mark Richt is eventually relieved of his duties. He turned down a position at his alma mater in the past, but an opportunity to return home as the school's head coach may make him too instable of a candidate for Byrne to bring in as head coach.
4. How would he fare with less talent? Since he's arrived at Alabama, Saban has consistently provided Smart with elite talent to fill his defenses up with. At Arizona, he'll take over one of the nation's worst defenses, which would certainly pose a challenge he's yet to face in his young career. Gambling his reputation on an instable Arizona defense is something that Smart may not be willing to do.
5. How long would he stay?: If Smart was hired at Arizona and was able to live up to the expectations that many have for him as a future head coach, how long would it be before he jumped ship and rode his successes in Tucson to a higher paying, more prestigious job in the SEC? While Smart certainly is an intriguing name, the mystery surrounding the longevity of his career at Arizona may be too much for Byrne to be willing to hand over the program to him.