After leading Georgia to the national championship game, football coach Kirby Smart has been rewarded with a seven-year contract worth $49 million.

Georgia's athletic association approved the contract extension and new compensation package Thursday.

Smart initially signed a six-year deal that paid him about $3.75 million per season when he took over as the Bulldogs coach before the 2016 season.

After going 8-5 in his debut year, the Bulldogs surged to their first Southeastern Conference title since 2005 and a thrilling Rose Bowl victory over Oklahoma in the national semifinals. They lost to SEC rival Alabama 26-23 in overtime in the national championship game, finishing 13-2.

Athletic director Greg McGarity says the 42-year-old Smart "provided an incredible level of energy and excitement to our football program, and we look forward to his leadership for many years to come."

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