Alabama fans, take a deep breath. Auburn is not stealing away your beloved defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.
The Tigers have hired former assistant and current Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn instead, as first reported by FoxSports/Scout.com site AStateNation.com.
Early Tuesday morning, The Birmingham News reported that Smart was the leading candidate for the Auburn head coaching job and interviewed for it Monday. Later in the afternoon, CBS 8 News in Montgomery tweeted that Auburn President Dr. Jay Gogue told the station that a coach announcement would be made “within 24 hours.”
Smart’s wife, Mary L. Smart, was kind enough to open her door on a rainy day in Tuscaloosa to address reports about her husband.
“[Kirby] is in Atlanta recruiting,” she said.
Mary said after Saturday’s SEC Championship game, she and her husband returned to Alabama for the team’s banquet, then Kirby hit the road recruiting.
When asked if her husband had any interest in Auburn or had interviewed for the job, Mary smiled and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t say anything.”
Additional calls were made to Kirby Smart’s agent Jimmy Sexton, who is in New York City for post-season award ceremonies, but were not returned.
Smart’s Alabama defense finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in total defense and rushing defense. He’s seemingly been a name that’s floated around nearly every head coaching search in recent memory.
Auburn’s search for a new head coach began after it fired Gene Chizik on Nov. 25 after the Tigers finished the season 3-9, 0-8 SEC.
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