Home Sports Clemson coach Dabo Swinney tops college football with $93 million deal

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney tops college football with $93 million deal



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Rings and trophies are not the only awards for national championships. After leading Clemson to its second College Football Playoff national title in three years, coach Dabo Swinney earned his second contract extension in three years.

The Clemson Board of Trustees Compensation Committee met Friday morning to approve a 10-year, $93-million deal for Swinney. It is the biggest contract in college football history, eclipsing the eight-year, $74-million deal Alabama awarded Nick Saban last year. 

Swinney will earn $9.25 million in the first year of the contract, including $8.25 million in total salary and $1 million for a split-dollar life insurance premium. That figure pushes Swinney ahead of all Division I bowl subdivision coaches for the 2019 season.

“I am grateful and humbled by the incredible commitment Clemson has made to me, my family and our football program,” Swinney said in a statement. “With this contract, we make a collective statement that we intend to continue pursuing championships and developing total student-athletes for years to come.”

Saban will be paid $8.7 million next season according to his contract, but he will average $9.4 million through the remaining seven years. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher will each earn $7.5 million next season.

Five other coaches, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Florida’s Dan Mullen and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley will earn more than $6 million next season. 

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Twenty-three assistant coaches will earn at least $1 million. That list includes defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who received a one-year contract extension Friday. Venables signed a five-year, $11.6-million contract in February 2018 that increased his salary by approximately $500,000. Venables earned $2.2 million last season, the second highest figure among assistants behind Louisiana State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ($2.5 million).

Swinney signed his previous contract, an eight-year, $54-million deal, in August 2017, after winning his first national championship. Last season, his total compensation was $6.5 million, according to figures compiled by USA TODAY Sports. Swinney’s previous contract also granted him more than $1 million in performance incentives last season. He earned another $1 million retention bonus for remaining Clemson’s coach through March 1.

“Dabo’s leadership of our football program has brought value, exposure and unprecedented levels of success not only to our athletics program but to the entire university,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in a statement. “He has demonstrated the ability to consistently achieve at the highest level on and off the field, and he has done so with a commitment to integrity and core principles. This new agreement is evidence of Clemson’s steadfast commitment to Dabo and to our football program, and we are thrilled that he and his family will be a part of our community for years to come.”

Venables received a $200,000 retention bonus in February, when Clemson increased the salaries of Swinney’s other nine on-field assistants. Offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott were each given raises to $1 million. Combined, Venables, Elliott and Scott will earn more than $4.2 million in 2019. Merely 18 of the other 129 bowl subdivision teams pay more to all 10 of their assistants. 

Per his previous contract, Venables’ salary would have increased to $2.4 million in the 2020 season.

Butler was honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year.

Contributing: Mollie Simon


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