LOS ANGELES — Georgia coach Kirby Smart said his father, former high school football coach Sonny Smart, won’t be at the College Football Playoff national title game because of health issues.
“It hurts me that he and my mom won’t be here,” Kirby Smart said Saturday, during CFP media day. “But I know it’s the right decision for him. Nothing worse than watching your parents grow old. It’s like taxes; it’s inevitable. They’re going to get old. And that’s been tough.”
The top-ranked Bulldogs face No. 3 TCU on Monday night at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Sonny Smart has been a regular at his son’s game since Kirby became head coach at his alma mater in 2016. Sonny and wife Sharon Smart also missed last week’s Peach Bowl against Ohio State.
Kirby Smart played for his father while growing up in south Georgia.
“He’s taught me so much just about the way you handle things, the right way, the wrong way,” Kirby said. “Control the controlables. The moment’s never too big if you’re prepared. And I always watched the way he prepared our teams and our staff in high school. He was a very wise man, a man of few words. I tried to follow his mantra as a coach.”
Sonny Smart was the head coach at Bainbridge High School for two decades.
“I’ve certainly evolved from going to coach for other people, but a lot of my core beliefs came from the way he ran our programs in high school,” Kirby Smart said.
Miami is hiring Lance Guidry, who was defensive coordinator at Marshall last season and recently accepted the same position at Tulane, to lead its defense, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because a deal was still being finalized between Guidry and Miami.
The 51-year-old Louisiana native was hired way from Marshall by Tulane just last month. Now he’ll replace Kevin Steele on Mario Cristobal‘s staff at Miami. Steele is reportedly on his way to Alabama to become Nick Saban‘s defensive coordinator after holding that position for one season with the Hurricanes.
Alabama has yet to make the hiring of Steele and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees official. Rees had been assistant at Notre Dame.
Tulane announced the hiring of Guidry on Jan. 23 to replace Chris Hampton, who left the New Orleans-based school to join Oregon’s staff as an assistant coach.
Guidry’s defenses at Marshall ranked third in the nation in yards per play this season (4.56) and 26th nationally in 2021 (5.14 ypp).
CHICAGO — Wrigley Field will host a college football game for the third time since 2010 when Iowa plays Northwestern next season.
Northwestern and the Chicago Cubs announced that the Wildcats’ home game will be played Nov. 4.
Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley in 2010 in the MLB ballpark’s first college football game since 1938, and the Wildcats hosted Purdue there in 2021.
Wrigley Field has a long history of hosting football games. The Chicago Bears played there from 1921 to 1970 before moving to Soldier Field. The old Chicago Cardinals also played at Wrigley, as well as DePaul until its program folded in 1939.
Northwestern had been scheduled to play Wisconsin at Wrigley in 2020, but the game was moved to Ryan Field in Evanston because of the COVID-19 pandemic.