ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia has named Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as its new head coach.

Smart was formally approved as Mark Richt’s successor during a meeting Sunday by the Georgia athletic association executive committee.

Several media outlets reported that Smart would be the choice just days after Georgia announced it was parting ways with Richt, who was the Bulldogs’ coach for 15 years.

Richt has since taken a job at Miami’s coach.

Smart played at Georgia and has been Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama since 2008. The new coach turns 40 on Dec. 23 and was widely regarded as one of the top assistants in the country.

When Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity decided to make a change, it was clear that Smart was his top choice all along.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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