BIRMINGHAM — Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Auburn offensive coordinator Mike Bobo go way back.
Each the son of Georgia high school football coaches, Smart and Bobo got to know each other when Smart’s father Sonny was the head coach at Bainbridge and Bobo’s father was the head coach at Thomasville. The two got even closer as players at Georgia, where Bobo played quarterback and Smart was an All-SEC defensive back.
Later on, the two served on the same coaching staff at their alma mater when Bobo was the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator and Smart came on board as a graduate assistant before taking on the duties of running backs coach.
Given his familiarity with Bobo, Smart explained on Tuesday he was excited to see Bobo land at Auburn this offseason.
“Mike and I have a relationship that goes really far back,” Smart said. “We grew up kind of competing against each other and got to live together in college. He’s a dear friend. I’m close to [his] family and excited for him to be back in the SEC. I think he makes the SEC a better conference and glad to get him back this way.”
Bobo brings plenty of SEC experience to the table with the Tigers.
Bobo comes to Auburn after a one-year stint at South Carolina, which ended with Bobo serving as interim head coach following Will Muschamp’s firing. Bobo’s lone South Carolina offense ranked sixth in the SEC in rushing yards per game thanks in large part to running back Kevin Harris, who took 185 carries for 1,138 yards and 15 touchdowns in his sophomore season.
Prior to that, Bobo spent five years as the head coach at Colorado State after spending the previous 14 seasons as an assistant at Georgia.
Bobo appeared set to stay at South Carolina upon Shane Beamer’s hiring as head coach this offseason before taking the same role on Bryan Harsin’s staff with the Tigers.
South Carolina tight end Nick Muse explained on Monday that the Gamecocks’ loss should make for a true gain for Auburn.
“They’re getting a lot of great plays. They’ve already got a lot of great athletes over there,” Muse said. “You know, coach Bobo’s a great guy. He’s done nothing but treat me with respect ever since he got to South Carolina and met me. You know, he’s just an all-around dude, somebody that you always want to be around.
“It sucks that we didn’t get to keep him, but, you know, everything happens for a reason … All in all, he’s a great guy. The players there are going to love him. Very competitive, and he does the right things.”
Bobo will get a chance to face some familiar foes this fall when Auburn hosts Georgia on Oct. 9 and travels to South Carolina on Nov. 20.