Clemson, Swinney putting finishing touches on new 8-year contract

New deal would make Tigers' coaching staff one of the 10 best-paid in the nation

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson president Jim Clements chat at the annual Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon on Friday at the Jungle Island ballroom in Miami

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Clemson president Jim Clements chat at the annual Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon on Friday at the Jungle Island ballroom in Miami

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Dabo Swinney and Clemson are putting the finishing touches on a new eight-year agreement that would make the football coaching staff among the 10 highest-paid in the nation, according to two sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Following his final Orange Bowl news conference Thursday morning, Swinney seemed pleased with the direction and tenor of the deal, saying he wanted to further strengthen and extend the relationship.

Though details were sketchy, in broad strokes the deal calls for compensation to the coaching staff that likely would exceed $8 million, based on the most recent USA Today survey of salaries. Clemson assistant coaches are among the highest paid in the nation at more than $4.2 million.

However, though he certainly would agree his salary should be reflective of the school’s commitment to the program, Swinney said the scope of a new contract must also include further compensation to staff and solidify the promise of state-of-the-art facilities for the team and the fans.

Once they receive increases after a third consecutive season of 10 or more wins, Swinney could be in line for a bump from the current $2.2 million annually to a range of $3 million to $3.5 million.

Also, Swinney has championed incentives, such as the impact of a second ACC championship in a much more competitive league, and strengthening the bonus structure for academic progress scores and graduation rates.

Negotiations began in October and accelerated over the past couple of weeks. Swinney was mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Mack Brown at Texas. And though the smart money is on Art Briles of Baylor with Charlie Strong of Louisville reportedly next on the list, Swinney will not whiff on the leverage he enjoys.

As the coaching landscape shifted, his salary lost ground and he slipped deeper to the middle of the pack behind coaches with fewer accomplishments.

Among the factors that motivate Swinney to invest himself deeper is the wish that his sons finish high school in Clemson, which for the youngest would be in about eight years.

Swinney said he was encouraged by the vision of his partners, new president James Clements and athletics director Dan Radakovich. He called the hiring of Clements a “home run.”

One of the points presented on Swinney’s behalf is that he is the most visible face of Clemson, and that with five primetime TV games this season, his value to the university is immeasurable.

Preferring not to discuss ongoing personnel matters, Radakovich’s decision to proceed with plans to upgrade the boxes in Death Valley, construct a new football operations facility at the practice fields and revamp the game day facilities at the stadium are indicative of his commitment. A meeting Thursday with the Clemson Board of Trustees’ competition committee apparently finalized the details.

Clemson athletics generates approximately $70 million per year. Funding should come from an additional $12 million to $20 million in revenue over the next four years, once the stadium suites are refurbished and the ACC bumps its shares to league members from a retooled TV contract and proceeds from the new playoff structure.

© 2014 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 21

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

i like Dabo and think he's running a good program. i think he's a good coach too. i dont think he was going anywhere though. To me, eight years is a rather long extension. i'm interested to see what the buyout will be when the details emerge too. hope he realizes this will only up the pressure cooker even more as well.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

Why on earth would we extend this man's contract ? If someone else wants to lose to their rivals 5 FIVE years running, let them. Looks like our new leaders are as dumb as the last ones. Make him beat somebody 1st.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Well, 8 years, ain't that nice? 0 and 13 against SC will be ok, I suppose. But we won 10 games and went to the Peach Bowl. Or an occasional BCS bowl. What's the beef? And new offices for all those people getting paid by Clemson to sit around and help each other get faxes off the fax machine. What a great day for Clemson.

lhaselden writes:

in response to TRUETIGER1:

Why on earth would we extend this man's contract ? If someone else wants to lose to their rivals 5 FIVE years running, let them. Looks like our new leaders are as dumb as the last ones. Make him beat somebody 1st.

You may want to check how many wins we have had against UGA since DF!
How many coaches have we had that have had 3 consecutive 10 win seasons?
We had not won or shared an ACC title since FSU joined the conference until we hired Dabo, we have won the Atlantic divison twice, tied for it once and won the ACC once since then.
We have lost to SC 5 times because SC is having the best run in their history. They have won the SEC east or beated the team that did the last 4 years!
I thought we were a little better that them this year but 6 TOs can turn a game... last night Alabama had 5 TOS and lost to Oklahoma.

clemvol writes:

Extension? We will see.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

in response to lhaselden:

You may want to check how many wins we have had against UGA since DF!
How many coaches have we had that have had 3 consecutive 10 win seasons?
We had not won or shared an ACC title since FSU joined the conference until we hired Dabo, we have won the Atlantic divison twice, tied for it once and won the ACC once since then.
We have lost to SC 5 times because SC is having the best run in their history. They have won the SEC east or beated the team that did the last 4 years!
I thought we were a little better that them this year but 6 TOs can turn a game... last night Alabama had 5 TOS and lost to Oklahoma.

I DON'T NEED TO CHECK A #$#@ THING. We are 1-5 against usc under his leadership and have suffered the worst loses in school history at his command. Keep drinking the kool-aid and feeding the fat cats. I prefer to actually think without the press guide.

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

lhaselden, some in our fanbase expect to go 12-0 with 50-0 victories in every game.

TigerFan95 writes:

I don’t have a problem with giving Dabo this extension because it’s huge from a recruiting standpoint. However, I think his contract does need some sort of performance incentives related to winning games like SC and FSU. Maybe a $200k bonus for beating those teams and $500k if he beats both in the same year. And maybe even a clause that says if he doesn’t beat each of them at least once in a four year period his buyout is reduced to half of what it would normally be. I bet that would put some fire in his step to win those games wouldn't it

clemvol writes:

in response to TRUETIGER1:

I DON'T NEED TO CHECK A #$#@ THING. We are 1-5 against usc under his leadership and have suffered the worst loses in school history at his command. Keep drinking the kool-aid and feeding the fat cats. I prefer to actually think without the press guide.

Correct.

clemvol writes:

in response to BlueRidgeBengal:

lhaselden, some in our fanbase expect to go 12-0 with 50-0 victories in every game.

Wrong.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

in response to BlueRidgeBengal:

lhaselden, some in our fanbase expect to go 12-0 with 50-0 victories in every game.

I expect a winning record against usc and to play to a respectable level in every game. 70-33 and 55-14 with 5 loses in a row to usc aren't respectable, regardless of the wins.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

Let's play pretty everybody. After we win tonight everybody will be fairly happy for a while and start getting ready to open the season against the "bull doggies" next year.

brookesdad729 writes:

I know I've been one of the biggest critics on here about our team. I don't think we played anywhere near our potential except against UGA this year either. That being said, I am not ready to throw Dabo under the bus. He runs a clean program, in fact I believe one of the best in the country when you add in graduation rates. I am not ready to fire Dabo for not beating SC and if that's anyone's only motivation for getting rid of him then you need to check yourself. A head coach is only gonna be as good as the people around him and I have to say that our defense has gotten much better under Venables. Our offense, in my opinion, is stagnant! We're not awful but we're no where near where we ought to be under Morris. Why? Again, in my opinion (and we know how opinions are), I believe we're trying to do too much with too many different people. A "jack of all trades and master of none" is basically what I see with our offense. FSU was just a buzz saw and as we see they chewed up everyone they played and had trouble against BC too. But if you look at the difference in the two offenses, it's all about execution. The play book is too big and complicated and you could tell on a lot of plays that the offense was not really on the same page. Also if you're running the ball well why the heck are you going to do some "flukey" pass with Watkins and all of that jazz. Nonetheless, Dabo is a good coach and I believe in the long haul he's the right fit for Clemson. He needs to sit down and have a wigwam with Morris and get ready to take it to the next level! We've got to get tougher and play tougher! That will be very difficult in this basketball conference where your competition from week to week is like a roller coaster but you gotta play the hand you're dealt! That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! Oh and by the way, get the powder puff teams off the schedule! It's weak enough as it is!

lhaselden writes:

I know this... there have been very few years that we have beaten 3 top 10 teams.... maybe none? Were there 3 top 10 teams on our schedule in '81. At the moment we have the opportunity to go 2 - 2 against top 10 teams. We may go 1 - 3?
USC is at a pinnacle and we are also approaching one ourselves. If we keep Dabo for 8 more years I think we will continue to build on this success. No one I know thinks that Spurrier will stay more than 4 more years and this year we are beating the gamecocks in recruiting, and I think that will continue if we keep Dabo.
I hate losing to the gamecocks. I think the way to change that is to continue to build our program the way Dabo is doing it....
But FSU is far ahead of us in recruiting talent... we may catch them we may not... but at the moment I think our talent is on a par with UGA and USC and ahead of others in the ACC. We are set up to win at least 10 games again next year....and I hope one of them is USC.

harryD writes:

Trutiger is so typical of a know it all fan dabo is a good coach the team is on the rise. Christ we barely beat Troy three years ago now we pound the teams we are supposed to. You will see when fsu spanks Auburn that we lost to two very good teams this year. Erase one of the muffed punts and your talking 11-1 season. So put a sock in it and go watch the Olympics

TRUETIGER1 writes:

in response to harryD:

Trutiger is so typical of a know it all fan dabo is a good coach the team is on the rise. Christ we barely beat Troy three years ago now we pound the teams we are supposed to. You will see when fsu spanks Auburn that we lost to two very good teams this year. Erase one of the muffed punts and your talking 11-1 season. So put a sock in it and go watch the Olympics

How long have you been an IPTAY Member ? What year did you finish CLEMSON ? How many years of ALUMNI giving do you have ? Do you hold SEASON TICKETS ?

michtiger writes:

in response to TRUETIGER1:

How long have you been an IPTAY Member ? What year did you finish CLEMSON ? How many years of ALUMNI giving do you have ? Do you hold SEASON TICKETS ?

Not sure about Harry but IPTAY since 1965, finished 1965, 48 years of giving and have had 4 season tickets for over 40 years. Yes the team is building out of a hole from TB, yes we play in a very weak ACC so do not get tested, yes Morris has it too complex but we are moving forward and that is obvious because we are starting to see successful NFL players. We as fans have also never been realistic as we grew. Boyd is a good QB and can throw but he gets antsy, we have been slow getting OL and DBs of best quality. This looks like the teams of late 70s as they grew. Fuller, Clark, Butler etc did not win Nat. Champ but they set stage. My hundreds of games tell me we are on the rise and that we have all ben critical of a team that is not complete and we have let our schedule and a few special players fool us that the team was great. Although we all loved the LSU game we all know that Miles lost that game with 3 passes at the end to save us time to have the 4th down play. We will get there but it takes awhile.I live in Mi and OSU can be beat because the B10 is weak and they have a poor defense. Will we? Well if we do not fumble and start the panic.

harryD writes:

Calm down bubba if you been around so long you getting a lot more bang for your buck these days. ..deep breaths

harryD writes:

Trutiger wanna talk trash

13tiger5 writes:

in response to clemvol:

Wrong.

You want to complain now? We are a program on the rise under Dabo, and everyone here needs to recognize that. WE ARE ONE OF THE 10 BEST PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY, DOING THE RIGHT WAY, AND STILL GETTING BETTER!! Look at all the people turning down the Texas job, then tell me you think we could do better than Dabo. I will take an 11 win season all day every day, and it's exciting to know that every year you have a shot at the conference championship.

CUNo1Fan writes:

I don't drink the cool aid and will be one of the first to point out what I think are Dabo's faults and have on this forum. However, I will also give credit where it is due and also have done so on this forum.

IMO Dabo needs to be more of a coach and less of a cheerleader. He needs to work more on team discipline and playing with discipline. They make way too many stupid mistakes that cost the Tigers way to much. Against top teams, you simply can't make those and hope to win those games consistently. That leads to my next point. He needs to do a much better job of having them mentally prepared for the all the games especially the big ones. It is easy to see the difference in the way the Tigers played against FSU and SCar - they played rattled after making mistakes that cost them dearly. Part of that comes from Dabo being so emotional and having his heart on his sleeve and it rubs off on the team and sometimes that simply isn't a good thing.

He also needs to concentrate more on getting top quality trench players. I simply can't state that enough. It all starts and ends in the trenches.

That said, I certainly am not ready to see him fired. I can't believe how many here either weren't alive or have simply forgotten the dumpster fire the Tigers became after Ford was forced out. Hatfield had a couple of good years with Danny's players but couldn't recruit and it started going south. West dang near killed the program. Clemson went from being one of the TOP 3 WINNINGEST PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY for the decade of the 80's (1981 to 1990) to mediocrity in less than 10 years with a 3 win season in 1998. Let that sink in for a minute.

Then came Bowden and we did do slightly better but still never had a 10 win season under him, never won another ACC championship under him, basically didn't do sh*t except beat the worse than we were at the time coots.

Dabo has 3 - 10 win seasons in a row, our first ACC championship in 30 years, two BCS appearances in 3 years, two bowl wins in a row over top 10 teams. We have only won 2 bowl games in a row once in the last 30 years as well(and one of them was a pisser no name bowl).

Nobody hates the 5 in a row to the coots more than I do, but again you have to give credit where it is due. The coots of 2013 are not the coots of old. They are at the best point in the history of their program and (puke, gag, got to wash my mouth out) a dang good team that has won 11 games for each of the last three seasons beating some of the top teams in the country in arguably the toughest conference (their bowl record and NCs show it). Yet, it took one of the top coaches in the country (give him his due as well) 6 years to get them to that point.

Will that change and the Tigers get back to beating them, yep but not if we throw out the first coach who has put us back in the national conversation in 30 years.

Can you say unrealistic expectations?

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features