Clemson raises pay in contract for football coach Dabo Swinney


CLEMSON – Since winning the national championship in January, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has seen a distinct surge in recruiting, reputation and renown.

On Friday morning, he saw a financial windfall as well.

The Clemson University Board of Trustees’ Compensation Committee approved a new eight-year contract for Swinney worth an average of $6.75 million per year, including $6 million this year.

Swinney’s previous six-year contract paid him an average of $5.33 million annually.

“My family and I have been extremely blessed to be part of such an incredible university and community for the past 14 years,” Swinney said. “This contract makes a strong statement. It is a mutual commitment reflective of the program we have built and continue to build at Clemson. The Clemson family does so much to support our program and I couldn’t be more proud to be your head coach.”

Friday’s deal made Swinney the third-highest paid head football coach in the country based on average annual compensation. Swinney trails only Nick Saban at Alabama and Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, who make an average of $8.1 million and $7.6 million, respectively, under their current contracts.

The deal also places Swinney just ahead of Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, who makes $6.616 million, and leapfrogs him to the top spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference ahead of Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, whose average annual income is $5.7 million.

“What he’s done with our program has been incredible,” Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich said. “He means so much to our athletic department, to our university, to our community. He and (wife) Kathleen are just incredible ambassadors for the institution.”

Swinney is 89-28 in nine seasons as Clemson’s head coach, including a 70-13 record over the last six years. Swinney has guided the Tigers to a school-record six consecutive seasons with 10 or more victories and back-to-back national championship game appearances the last two years.

“We are very excited about the great football program that he has pulled together and we’re just happy that we were able to come to an agreement prior to the football season – that was always our goal,” Radakovich said. “We’ve been able to accomplish that and look forward to another great eight years.

“This new agreement demonstrates our strong commitment to Dabo and our confidence in his leadership now – and in the future – and his long-term commitment to Clemson. We are thrilled that he and his family will be a part of the Clemson family for years to come.”

The total value of Swinney’s new deal is $54, including signing and retention bonuses. The deal included a $1.5 million signing bonus that he’ll receive next month.

Swinney also could potentially earn up to $1 million in incentives based on his players’ academic performance, postseason success and Coach of the Year awards.

Swinney’s buyout would be $6 million should he leave Clemson at any time before Dec. 31, 2018, then decrease to $4 million in 2019, $3 million in 2020, $2 million in 2021 and $1 million in 2022 and 2023.

The university’s buyout would be $5 million multiplied by the number of years remaining on the contract in years 1 through 6, then the remaining base salary plus supplemental income and licensing monies in years 7 and 8.

“When you look at the market, the market’s now defined because Dabo has won a national championship here at Clemson,” Radakovich said. “The market’s defined by those four individuals who are currently active coaches that have national championship victories. It further includes coach Harbaugh at Michigan because he had a Super Bowl appearance, he’s been at a very, very high level. So that’s kind of the market, really the parameters we used in doing our market assessment and ultimately created the terms based on that.”