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December 3, 2012
TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has interviewed for the head coaching position at Auburn, but the Crimson Tide's sixth-year assistant coach may not be a primary candidate for the Tigers, sources close to the situation confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News Monday night.
Smart, 36, has been among the most sought-after assistant coaches in the nation since last year, when he was tied to several job openings before ultimately remaining with the Crimson Tide and receiving a pay raise. UA coach Nick Saban has consistently endorsed Smart's readiness to take on a head coaching post, which he has yet to take on in his career.
A University spokesperson said there would be no official comment from Saban.
Smart is not the only candidate interviewing with Auburn, which is hosting candidates in Nashville during the interviewing process. A source with direct knowledge of the situation told The Tuscaloosa News that Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris had also scheduled an in-person interview with Auburn. Media reports have also named Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn, a former Auburn offensive coordinator, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, Louisville coach Charlie Strong and others as candidates.
This season, Smart's defense finished No.1 in the NCAA in rush defense and No. 2 in scoring defense at 10.7 points allowed per game. Smart earned $950,000 in 2012, making him among the nation's highest-paid assistant coaches. He earned $850,000 in 2011.
Last month, Smart was named the American Football Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year, his second national assistant of the year honor since 2009.
Auburn fired former coach Gene Chizik on Nov. 25.
TideSports.com Recruiting: Alabama visits another SEC commitment
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org