Donnan took over for Ray Goff who had coached a repeatedly bad Georgia squad. He turned subpar into superb and led UGA to four bowl game wins in his five seasons, but it wasn’t always easy.
Now, more than ever, history has repeated itself.
Smart is in a very similar position to what Donnan was many years ago, taking over a team loaded with talent and potential, but that has been playing like a very different group. While Smart has the experience at a top tier program in Alabama, Donnan offered Smart some words of wisdom going into his first season as head coach.
"The one thing that I told him was that the biggest mistake that I made my first year was that I spent way too much time with the alumni clubs speaking and trying to promote the program rather than being with the players," Donnan told Bleacher Report. "I felt like I spent enough time with the players, but still, looking at the relationships the first year compared to the second year was night and day."
Smart reportedly has been prioritizing the team and athletes over alumni and booster events, even inviting his the families of his athletes to come watch scrimmages and practices.
Smart and Georgia tee it up versus North Carolina on Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.