Georgia’s athletic directors on Tuesday endorsed Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s plans to join the president’s Cabinet.
The endorsement was announced by Georgia athletic director Steve Davis and state House Speaker David Ralston.
“Kirby is a strong leader who believes in Georgia and our state and is committed to working to ensure that the people of Georgia are able to have the opportunity to compete in a state-of-the-art facility in the nation’s capital,” Davis said in a statement.
Ralston, a Democrat who represents Atlanta, also issued a statement: “I have no doubt that Coach Kirby will help make the Georgia State Athletics program one of the best in the country, and I thank him for his commitment to Georgia State University and our athletic program.
I believe the President is right to make the announcement to bring in a coach with a passion for the state and the university and a track record of success as well as an ability to lead our athletic department.”
The statement said Smart, who is the longest-tenured head coach in the history of the program, would serve as a liaison to the president, and the governor and the lieutenant governor would be part of the transition.
Georgia athletic director Scott Stricklin was also a part of a recent White House team that visited the Atlanta area to discuss college football and other topics.
Stricklin said in an interview last month that he had a conversation with Trump about a possible return to the Big Ten Conference.
Trump said in May that he was interested in joining the White House again, though he has not formally announced his intentions.
Georgia athletics has not announced a replacement for Smart, though Strickins own former coach, John Chavis, is expected to be named the next athletic director.