Alabama defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kirby Smart is the recipient of the 2009 Frank Broyles Award, which is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football.
Smart is the first Alabama coach to win the coveted Broyles Award since its inception in 1996. He was presented the award at the luncheon Tuesday at the Doubletree Hotel in Little Rock, Ark. He was one of five finalists for this year's award, along with Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, TCU defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas, Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn.
Alabama (13-0, 8-0 SEC) won its 22nd SEC Championship with a 32-13 win over No. 1 Florida in the 2009 SEC Championship Game on Dec. 5. The top-ranked Crimson Tide will now face No. 2 Texas in the BCS National Championship Game on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
"Kirby has done a really good job," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We hired Kirby at LSU when he had just coached maybe a year or something at Valdosta State and was a G.A. at Florida State. He has done a really good job. He's a hard worker. He certainly understands our system and can apply it in the game, which I think is the part of it that a lot of people really overlook.
"You can know a system and you can understand it and you can teach it, but there is a whole other level to be able to go into a game and apply it where it's effective. He's been around and he's done a really good job at that and I think it shows by how we play on the field."
Smart guided an Alabama defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (88.81 rating) and ranks second in rushing defense (77.9 ypg) and total defense (241.69 ypg). The Tide is also seventh nationally in pass defense (177.82 ypg). The Crimson Tide led the SEC in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, and ranks second in passing defense.
Alabama held 10 of its 13 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing this season and has not allowed an individual back to rush for over 100 yards in an NCAA-leading 33 straight games, dating back to the 2007 season. The Crimson Tide held six opponents to less than 250 total yards and to a touchdown or less this year.
As the Tide's secondary coach, Smart has worked with two All-SEC performers this season in senior cornerback Javier Arenas and sophomore safety Mark Barron. Barron leads the SEC with seven interceptions this season and ranks second on the team with 70 tackles. He also has 17 passes defended. Arenas is the third-leading tackler with 66 stops this season and is second on the team in sacks (5-53) and tackles for loss (12-85).
Smart joined the Crimson Tide football staff in January, 2007, after spending the 2006 season as the safeties coach with head coach Nick Saban and the NFL's Miami Dolphins. Prior to his stint with the Dolphins, Smart spent six years on the collegiate level with Georgia (1999 and 2005), LSU (2004), Florida State (2002-03), and Valdosta State (2000-01).