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Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kirby Smart is UGA's coach. Isn't that what you wanted?

Georgia has officially hired Kirby Smart. It's a good move. It's the best move Georgia could have made. (Taking it on faith that Nick Saban and Urban Meyer weren't available.) Smart will do well.

The first sentence of athletic director Greg McGarity's statement in Georgia's official release: "It was critical to identify a person who would focus on a specific, defined process of developing championship football teams on and off the playing field."

Jumps out at you, doesn't it? "Championship." That's why McGarity made the difficult choice to fire Richt -- because he no longer believed Richt could deliver a championship. That's why Smart has been hired. Not just because he's an alum -- although that's no small consideration -- but because he has been the No. 1 assistant at the place that measures itself only by championships.

McGarity has caught grief untold over the past week, but today those demanding the AD be fired for firing Richt should take a glimpse of the bigger picture: McGarity has given Georgia fans what a lot of them -- maybe most of them -- had said they wanted (though not so loudly this past week): Richt out, Smart in.

The Richt-out backlash has made it seem that no right-thinking Georgia fan would ever have parted with their beloved coach, but that's a distortion born of emotion. A lot of right-thinking Georgia fans had reached the same conclusion McGarity did. Difference was, McGarity had the power to make it happen. And he did.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.