Before Smart led UGA football to SEC Championship Games and College Football Playoff berths, he suited up as a defensive back for the Georgia Bulldogs in the 1990s. A few years later, Mary Beth Lycett dominated on the hardwood for the NCAA’s Lady Bulldogs.
A twist of fate brought the two together. Today, they are back home with three children and loving life as the football program’s ultimate power couple.
Kirby Smart’s Wife Mary Beth Smart
A native of Morrow, Georgia, Mary Beth Lycett was the 1999 Miss Georgia Basketball at Morrow High School. She was a lifelong UGA fan growing up and signed to play for legendary head coach Andy Landers.
It took her a while to see a lot of playing time with future WNBA players Kelly Miller, Coco Miller, Deanna “Tweety” Nolan and Keisha Brown, but she shined during her junior and senior seasons.
Lycett started 51 of 61 games in her final two years and averaged 29.8 minutes, 8.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals during that span. She was the only senior on the women’s basketball roster in the 2002-03 season, which ended in a heartbreaking Sweet 16 loss to Duke. Kirby, meanwhile, played football at UGA from 1995-98.
Today, she is the director of the Kirby Smart Family Foundation and can be seen at Sanford Stadium on Saturdays in the fall.
In September 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak, the two donated $1 million to support social justice, per 247Sports.
“Mary Beth and I are where we are because of the University of Georgia, so we feel a duty to give back to the university that opened so many doors for us, brought us together and brought us home. The current moment presents unique challenges for all of us, whether that’s dealing with the ramifications of this pandemic or acknowledging and addressing racial inequality. We hope this gift can fuel positive change in both areas,” he said in a release.
The Smarts and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford — a former UGA star — teamed up to help fund the UGA Athletic Association’s new social justice program.
Additionally, they stepped up to help Georgia’s senior student-athletes who had their final seasons impacted by COVID-19. Another part of the donation will go toward the Butts-Mehre Expansion Project that will include a new weight room, offices and meeting rooms, among other amenities.
How Did They Meet?
The story of how Kirby and Mary Beth met in 2005 is straight out of a movie. He was working as the defensive backs coach for LSU at the time and she was working in the athletic association’s business office.
Kirby was looking to land the running backs coach job at his alma mater, and he had to call Mary Beth to arrange his travel back to Athens for the interview, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They were married the following year and have been together ever since.
Kirby Smart’s Kids
After their wedding, Kirby Smart took a job in the NFL as a safeties coach for the Miami Dolphins. He stayed there for only one season, however, because Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban came calling with a can’t-miss opportunity.
Kirby and Mary Beth Smart moved to Tuscaloosa, where the football coach became the defensive coordinator after one season, and started their family. They currently have three children — twins Julia and Weston, and Andrew.
When the University of Georgia football job opened after Mark Richt was dismissed, Smart jumped at the opportunity to go back home. He landed the head football coach job, and the rest is history.
The Smart family now lives in a 1920s cottage outside of Athens, and the entire crew is usually on hand to watch Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart and their favorite football team win SEC East titles and big football games against the Florida Gators, Auburn Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers, Clemson Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies between the hedges.
UGA Athletics Director Greg McGarity helped bring them home, and the Smarts are here to stay. Now, can they win a national championship?
This post was originally published on May 15, 2020, but has been updated.