The coach who worked with Kirby Smart for $8K and sold
CHRIS HATCHER REMEMBERS the first time he knew Kirby Smart was going to be a terrific defensive coach.Hatcher, the existing coach at Samford, was hiring his very first staff at Valdosta State in 2000 and had consumed much of his wage swimming pool for assistants before hiring a secondary coach. His protective coordinator, Will Muschamp, who was pulling down a cool $31,000, recommended they utilize their last $8,000 to hire somebody he trusted.Muschamp reached out to Smart, who had actually played with him as
a protective back at Georgia and finished his profession with 13 interceptions. But 3 of those 13 leapt out to Hatcher.”I understood who Kirby was because I was the quarterback coach at Kentucky for Tim Couch, and I believe Kirby picked him off like three times in a game, “Hatcher said of Smart’s role in the Dawgs ’23-13 win over Kentucky in 1997.” We understood we were employing Kirby no matter what, since we simply had that money left, but Will and I chose that it ‘d be good for him to come down, put the fit on and interview and do it right.”So he put his new candidate in front of the white boards and asked him to diagram the Georgia base defense Kirby had run as a player.”He went out there and he prepared the diagrams and he supported,”Hatcher said.
“He’s sweating, and Will and I are laughing, and I lastly said,’Coach, that looks great, however if you have fun with 11 men, you got a much better chance of stopping ’em.'”Smart, who had actually left a player off, nervously drew the last man in and said sorry.(For the record, Hatcher knows Muschamp tells the story with 12 guys instead of 10. While they both concur Kirby was off by one man, Hatcher insists the way he keeps in mind is proper.)”I told everybody, if he was positive in stopping ’em with 10, I was like, man, there’s
no telling what he ‘d do if he played with 11,”Hatcher said.Hatcher knows Smart will need all 11 on Monday night when Georgia takes on upstart TCU for the College Football Playoff Championship Game( 7:30 ET, Monday, ESPN/ESPN App ). Because he’s likewise one of the people most accountable for teaching the Air Raid offense to Horned Frogs coach Sonny Dykes.For a five-year period from 1997 to 2002, Hatcher lived with Dykes for three years, then worked with Smart for 2. Hatcher and Dykes signed up with Hal Mumme’s very first Kentucky staff
, then, after landing a head-coaching task at his university, Valdosta State, Hatcher employed Smart and Muschamp to their very first tasks, where he dealt with Smart for two seasons.He’s the only guy who can state he sold pizzas with Dykes and constructed lockers with Smart when they were all broke coaches.” They’re both intense, but in extremely various methods,”Hatcher stated.
“Sonny’s really laid-back, got a great sense of humor. Kirby can talk smack with the best of ’em.
” Hal Mumme’s 1997 training personnel at Kentucky had several noteworthy names on it, including Chris Hatcher(fifth from right, front row), Sonny Dykes(third from right, front row)and Mike Leach(far right, back row ). UK Sports HATCHER ARRIVED AT Kentucky a couple of months prior to Dykes. He was a star quarterback under Mumme at Valdosta, where he won the Harlon Hill Award, the Department II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.He was ready to hit the ground running coaching Sofa, who would go on to become the No. 1 choice in the 1999 NFL draft. Dykes, who had actually previously been a jack-of-all-trades assistant at Navarro Junior College in Texas, was considering leaving training due to the fact that he was young, single and broke. Then his papa, legendary Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, suggested he call Mumme.Mumme hired him over the phone, and Dykes appeared a couple of months later on as soon as a graduate assistant spot opened up. He had no place to live, and Hatcher, who was 23, didn’t either. They didn’t understand each other, but Hatcher stated he ‘d once seen Spike speak at a clinic and”was mesmerized. “So he couldn’t wait to meet the more youthful Dykes.They rented a home however didn’t have any furnishings or money. Hatcher stated they purchased bed mattress from a flea market and then, he claims, Dykes hatched a plan one summer when they were working as football camp staffers to supplement their income.Hatcher was the camp director. Dykes, his assistant, saw dollar indications when he understood Tubby Smith was having his basketball camps during the exact same time, and other sports like volley ball did, too, for that reason there were thousands of starving kids staying overnight in the dormitories in Lexington.” Sonny’s a hustler, constantly strove,”Hatcher said.” I had an ’84 Ford Ranger five-speed that my papa sold me for$1
when I graduated from high school. He said, ‘You understand, rather of simply offering pizzas to the football campers, why don’t we simply load up your truck, park it in the middle of the quad and every night we’ll just offer pizza?'”Dykes didn’t reject it, instead portraying himself as a savvy entrepreneur.
“There were 8 pieces therein,” he said. “We made ’em a hell of a deal. You could pay $1 a piece, or we ‘d sell ’em the whole pizza for $10.” “I had a South Georgia education,”Hatcher said.”That offer on the price, that was that West Texas education coming through. That was Sonny’s concept. “The two stated they ‘d go door to door in
the dorms the rest of the night selling the rest.”We were rolling in the dough,”Hatcher said. “You would have believed we were millionaires out there offering all those pizzas. Straight cash refund in the day.” Dykes and Hatcher, who didn’t have workplaces, discovered an old storage room–“That thing was nasty, with obstructing dummies probably from when Bear Bryant coached there
,”Hatcher recalls– purchased desks from a surplus store and produced their own little space, adding spots
for the trainee employees.” We were living the excellent life, guy, “Hatcher said.”We did all the grunt work, but we didn’t have all the pressure that accompanies game day. Sonny and I had it made back there, friend. We had our own desks; all the volunteers and student assistants type of seemed like they owed us since we got them offices also. We were living large at that time.”MIKE LEACH GOT the Texas Tech head-coaching job in 2000 after a year as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, and brought Sonny with him, ironically to replace Spike. On the other hand, Hatcher landed his own head-coaching gig that very same year back at Valdosta, where Smart was when again back to coaching with 11 players.Now, there was a more pressing issue.The locker room was a sad state of affairs. But a place like Valdosta State wasn’t in the facilities arms race. If the
football staff desired brand-new lockers, it was on the personnel to figure it out.” We had a guy contribute some wood,”Hatcher said.”A young coach on our staff and his papa were carpenters on the side. So they built a template and we did it assembly-line design and everyone had their own job.”He said Smart had a key role.” You had to high-gloss [
. paint] the finished item to make it glossy,”Hatcher said. “Kirby was our high-gloss guy. “Smart and Muschamp are known for their intense characters. Hatcher remembers it all coming into focus when the three of them– Hatcher
was simply 26, Muschamp 25 and Smart 24– would do anything competitive, especially basketball.2 Related Smart might poke and poke and poke and get Muschamp fired up.”He might back it up on the court, too, “Hatcher said.One day, Smart got Muschamp so upset,
he fired the basketball off the gym wall and stormed out.”We didn’t see him for the rest of the day, so Kirby and I had a good time with that for a while,”Hatcher said.But they all strove, too. Muschamp utilized to paint stripes on the field on Sundays to get ready for practice before he left Valdosta after one year to join Nick Saban’s staff at LSU. Smart, after just one year as a coach, ended up being the defensive organizer, with a huge raise from$8,000
as much as about
$30,000. That season, Valdosta went 12-2 and had the No. 2 defense in the nation. One of those 2 losses can be found in the Division II championship game game.Now, Muschamp, who has actually been a head coach at Florida and South Carolina, is an assistant for Smart as the Dawgs try to win a 2nd successive title.”When I work with young coaches, I always inform them there’s no job too little, “Hatcher stated. “Back then, these are the important things that we had to do. Here’s 2 coaches from the exact same staff, Kirby and Will, playing for the national championship, that utilized to paint the field and high-gloss lockers.” Prior to Kirby Smart led Georgia to duplicate national title looks, he led the 2001 Valdosta State defense to the No. 2
in the nation in his first season under Hatcher as protective planner. Image by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images DYKES AND SMART state they discovered a significant quantity when working for Hatcher, who is 172-95 in 24 years as a head coach and won a national championship at Valdosta in 2004 throughout a 76-12 run there. This year, he led Samford to its first outright conference title considering that 1936. In September, prior to Georgia beat Hatcher and Samford 33-0, Smart said what he gained from Hatcher was how to utilize his charisma and how he formed strong relationships.”His personality with the team was constantly positive,” Smart said.”[ He] simply believed we could win every game. He embodied that. He embraced that. His players enjoy playing for him since of the energy he exhibits.”Smart was asked at SEC media days this year what he remembers most about his time with Hatcher. “For how long you got?”he said, smiling. “Because I might inform you about a 20-hour bus trip I required to Arkadelphia. I might inform you about Texarkana. I could inform you about all the places I went in Mississippi that I didn’t know existed. But that’s where I cut my teeth as a coach.
There were some truly long bus flights. We built our own lockers.”I found out a lot while I operated at Valdosta State. You just discover trial by fire. And I definitely value Coach Hatcher for providing me that chance. “For Dykes, the lessons he learned from his time with Hatcher are particularly important this week as he attempts to handle an incredibly talented Georgia team. Due to the fact that, Dykes said, he was a doubter that Kentucky could ever handle the top of the SEC, and Hatcher convinced him anything is possible. “I didn’t understand anything about
the Air Raid and what it entailed, “Dykes said.”So my brainwashing truly was Chris, just type of sitting around your home speaking about it. The something that matters is that you’re armed with this tool that was going to enable you to climb the highest mountain.” Dykes said it’s a homage to his time with Hatcher that he has actually been able to get TCU to this point this quickly by using what he learned there. “It took me a while to become a believer. Chris ‘self-confidence rubbed off on everyone,” Dykes stated. “Mike Leach rubbed off on
me. Hal rubbed off on me. All the guys that existed, that had actually remained in the offense for a while, all had this unrelenting confidence that it was going to work and it’s going to work versus whoever. It didn’t truly matter who you’re betting. “Dykes added after the Horned Frogs’51-46 upset of Michigan in the Vrbo Feast Bowl that he was thinking a great deal of Leach and his dad in the last seconds of the game. Inevitably, he’ll lean on those lessons from his early days again Monday.”Chris was just one of those guys: He’s undersized, wasn’t a fantastic athlete, won the Harlon Hill, was a terrific player. I keep in mind looking at Chris going, how in the world did he do it?”Dykes said.” And after that once I learnt more about him, he just had so much self-confidence and belief in the system and himself and how if you have this relentless, undying belief, people will follow you. When you have a leader that has that, it can be contagious and penetrates a whole program. That’s kind of what the magic of it is. “