Clemson announced Friday that it has agreed to a 10-year, $93 million contract extension with coach Dabo Swinney that will keep him with the Tigers through the 2028 season. The new deal will pay him $8.25 million in 2019, and increase incrementally up to $10 million in 2027 and 2028. It is the richest coaching contract in college football history.
"I am grateful and humbled by the incredible commitment Clemson has made to me, my family and our football program," Swinney said. "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. Our sustained continuity in vision, people and culture has been a key ingredient to our success, on- and off-the field. I am thankful for the leadership we have at Clemson and appreciate all they do for Clemson football. I am truly blessed to be your head football coach."
Since taking over mid-way through the 2008 season, Swinney has become the driving force of Clemson's rise to the top of the college football world. He is 116-30 in 11 seasons with the Tigers, has posted eight straight 10-win seasons, won five ACC titles (including four straight), made the College Football Playoff in each of the last four seasons and won national titles in 2016 and 2018.
"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," athletic director Dan Radakovich said. "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."
What's even more interesting about Swinney's new deal is that it has a buyout enhancement if he leaves for Alabama, his alma mater. He would owe Clemson $4 million if he leaves for another head coaching position in each of the next two years, with that number dropping incrementally throughout the contract. If he leaves for Alabama, he would owe Clemson $2 million more in the first two years, with that number decreasing by $500,000 incrementally throughout the deal.
Here's a breakdown of what Swinney would owe if he leaves for Alabama.
|Year||Standard buyout||Alabama enhancement|
"The football program, under the direction of coach Swinney, has been a great source of pride for the Clemson family," university president Jim Clements said. "The success of the football program has helped to elevate the entire profile of the institution. We've seen all-time highs in applications, fundraising and numerous other areas. This is in part due to the national visibility that our football team's success has brought to the university. We are excited to have coach Swinney and his family with us for at least another decade."
If the school buys Swinney out, it would owe him $50 million in 2019-20, $47.5 million in 2021-22, $45 million in 2023, and 100 percent of the remaining total in years 6-10. Incentives include $150,000 for winning the ACC Championship Game, $200,000 for a national semifinal appearance, $200,000 for a national title game appearance and $250,000 for a College Football Playoff National Championship. He will also receive a $50,000 bonus for winning a national coach of the year award.