September 20, 2007
Athens - They were both star quarterbacks in high school who played for their fathers who were both were star players at the University of Georgia.
A decade later Mike Bobo and Kirby Smart are now assistant coaches in the Southeastern Conference.
On Saturday night these longtime close friends will be trying to beat each other from the coaching booth when Georgia plays at Alabama.
Alabama assistant coach Kirby Smart says the first time he met Mike Bobo was when Smart was playing in a B-team game for Bainbridge High in Thomasville.
Kirby Smart said "He was on the varsity at that time and I was in the ninth grade and he was holding the chains They were beating us pretty bad and he was making fun of me and kidding me."
Kirby said the kidding continued at the University of Georgia where he and Mike Bobo were roommates. Ten years after their playing days ended, it is no surprise that these sons of high school coaches are considered two of the top assistant coaches in the Southeastern Conference.
Mike Bobo said "We just have been very fortunate. I know I have and I know he will tell you the same thing to get where we are today."
Kirby Smart said "Having played in the SEC helped us. Having been brought up in coaching families helped us. We have kind of been lucky and it has been a fast and wild ride."
It has been a wild ride for Kirby Smart who has coached six different teams in the last seven years including one season coaching running backs at Georgia.
A job Mike Bobo had hoped would keep his best friend in Athens for a long time.
Bobo said "He did a good job when he was here but his heart was on defense and you can't blame him for that."
Kirby Smart said "I really learned a lot about football and the way offenses look at things and that was great year for me. And getting to spend it with Mike was really special. I felt like career wise to get where I needed to go that I needed to be on defense."
And on Saturday night, Alabama's assistant head coach for defense will be trying to stop a Georgia offense run by his best friend.
A fact that led these best friends, who were groomsmen in each other's weddings, to keep their distance this summer.
Smart said "With his commitment to the team and his commitment to his family, he doesn't have much and I don't either. We talk when we need to. I think we both have a good relationship and both understand that."
Bobo said "I am sure after this game we will go back to talking once a week. It is tough. I know he wants to beat us and we want to beat them."
They may be best friends but they still enjoy beating each other as Kirby Smart points out he is 0-2 against former team and best friend.