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Clemson University

Dabo’s new deal with Clemson is massive. And it has an interesting Alabama clause


Clemson has been committed to keeping head football coach Dabo Swinney among the highest paid head coaches in the country.

The Tigers took another step toward doing that on Friday.

Clemson’s Board of Trustees approved a new contract for Swinney Friday morning, a 10-year deal that will pay him an average annual salary of $9.3 million.

The 49-year-old Swinney is now the second-highest paid coach in the country in terms of annual salary. Alabama’s Nick Saban is first at $9.44 million. Saban’s contract is a seven-year deal.

“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. “For more than a decade, we have given our all to provide this world-class university and our incredible fans the championship football program they deserve — to live up to ‘Best is the Standard.’ With this contract, we make a collective statement that we intend to continue pursuing championships and developing total student-athletes for years to come.”

Swinney’s contract also includes a buyout enhancement if he leaves to become the head coach at Alabama. His buyout is $4 million through Dec. 31, 2020; $3 million in 2021-2022; $2 million in 2023-2025; and $1 million in 2026-2027.

If Swinney leaves for Alabama, the buyout jumps to $6 million through Dec. 31, 2020; $4.5 million in 2021-2022; $3 million in 2023-2025; and $1.5 million in 2026-2027.

“That’s because of all of you guys,” Tigers Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich said to media members following the announcement. “Everybody thinks that Dabo’s gonna move on to Alabama, and while we were looking at these things it really wasn’t that difficult as it related to that with his representatives. We were going to have a buyout for all of the other schools and for that one we just kind of put in an additional little kicker.”

Swinney led Clemson to its second national title in three years in January. The Tigers have won five ACC titles under Swinney, with all of them coming since 2011. He has an overall record of 116-30 since taking over as the interim head coach in 2008.

Clemson returns several offensive stars off of last year’s national title team, including quarterback Trevor Lawrence, receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross and running back Travis Etienne.

“We’re incredibly happy that we have now created a great commitment from Clemson to coach Swinney and from coach Swinney to Clemson,” Radakovich said. “I think he’s a generational coach. There’s no coach better for Clemson than Dabo Swinney. Very excited to have that put to bed and being able to move forward.”


In addition to Swinney:

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables also received a one-year extension, pushing his contract through the 2023-24 season. Venables is paid $2 million annually.

Clemson and women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler agreed to a new five-year contract through the 2023-24 season. Butler received a $50,000 per year raise after leading the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament. She will make $400,000 each of the next two seasons, $425,000 through the 2023 and $450,000 in 2023-24. Radakovich mentioned that several schools were interested in Butler, including an SEC program.

Clemson and Athletics Director Dan Radakovich agreed to a contract extension that runs through June 30, 2024. Radakovich will make $1.2 million in the 2019-20 school year, $1.25 million in 2020-21, $1.3 million in 2021-22, $1.35 million in 2022-23 and $1.4 million in 2023-24.

Dabo Swinney total salary, by year

2019: $8,250,000

2020: $8,250,000

2021: $8,500,000

2022: $8,500,000

2023: $8,750,000

2024: $9,000,000

2025: $9,250,000

2026: $9,500,000

2027: $10,000,000

2028: $10,000,000

Contract incentives

ACC Championship appearance: $50,000 (plus $150,000 for win)

Non-CFP bowl game appearance (with 8-plus regular season wins): $50,000

CFP New Year’s Six bowl game appearance: $100,000

CFP semifinal appearance: $200,000

CFP title game appearance: $200,000

CFP national champion: $250,000

National Coach of the Year award: $50,000

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