Tide's Kirby Smart honored as top assistant

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was named Tuesday as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Assistant Coach of the Year.

Smart, in his sixth season on the Alabama staff, won the Broyles Award in 2009 as the top assistant coach in college football. His Alabama defense is ranked first nationally in scoring defense and second nationally in total defense.

His defenses have helped Alabama win two BCS national titles in the past four years, and five of his defenders earned All-America honors in 2011. Smart has had six players become first-round NFL draft picks in the past three years.

Off the field, Smart has been involved in various fundraising activities as a member of the Alabama coaching staff. He participates in Nick’s Kids, an organization in which head coach Nick Saban and his wife Terry have raised more than $2 million for area youth charities over the past five years. Smart participated in tornado relief efforts after the devastating storms in April of 2011. He helped set up a fund to help the son-in-law and grandchildren of former Alabama coach Joe Kines following a car accident that killed Kines’ daughter.

Each year, staff representatives from NCAA and NAIA football-playing schools are asked to nominate an assistant for consideration. From those nominations, a winner is selected by the AFCA Public Relations Committee. The winners of this award were selected from Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and the NAIA.

The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.

The criteria for the award are not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.