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Clemson's Swinney gets 8-year raise

Saturday, January 18, 2014 | 11:20 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney received a new, eight-year contract Saturday and a raise that increased his total pay for next season to $3.15 million.

The agreement had been in the works since the end of the season. The school announced the reworked contract that ties Swinney to the Tigers through 2021. Swinney's previous deal paid him a total of $2.55 million and was good through 2017.

The agreement was approved this week by Clemson University's Board of Trustees compensation committee.

Clemson had its second straight 11-2 season, finishing up with a 40-35 victory over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. It was Clemson's third consecutive season with double-digit victories.

"Dabo is one of the top coaches not only in the ACC but in the entire nation," Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. "His teams have succeeded on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We're excited to have him lead our program for a long time into the future."

Swinney's total pay will increase by $150,000 the 20015 and 2016 seasons. Automatic raises after that will be determined by how many victories the football team has that season, starting with $100,000 increase for nine wins and up to $300,000 for 12 wins.

Should Clemson win the Atlantic Coast Conference in any of the next three seasons, Swinney's pay would jump to $3.5 million the following year.

Swinney's contract is filled with incentives, including one of $400,000 for reaching the College Football Playoff. He would also earn $75,000 if his team's APR score was over 950.

Should the university terminate Swinney without cause this season, it would owe the coach $24 million. That figure is significantly reduced with each year of the deal.

Swinney, 44, would owe Clemson $5 million should he leave for another head coaching spot the next three seasons. That also gets reduced over the length of the contract.

Swinney came to the Tigers in 2003 as a receivers coach under Tommy Bowden and became the school's interim coach when Bowden was let go in the middle of the 2008 season. Swinney earned the fulltime job that fall, his first year's salary only $800,000.

Since then, Swinney's won three ACC Atlantic Division titles, an ACC championship and a BCS bowl game. While the Tigers have gone 51-23 overall and 33-12 in ACC play with Swinney, there have been some notable clunkers during his time.

Clemson has lost three of its past four games with national champion Florida State, including a 51-14 embarrassment at Death Valley this past October. There was the 70-33 Orange Bowl debacle against West Virginia following the 2011 ACC title season. And then there's that first-ever, five-game losing streak to South Carolina that has Swinney continually getting "five-bombed" while posing for photographs, as Gamecock fans flash five fingers while posing to show their program's recent domination.

"While we have accomplished many goals, we still have several out there to reach and we will continue to work to get there," Swinney said.

Swinney told a sold-out crowd at halftime of last week's 72-59 Tigers victory over Duke that his staff would not rest until the football program was tops in the state and nationally.

Swinney's long-term deal will also likely keep the spicy back and forth going with South Carolina's Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks coach received a one-year contract extension and raise this week that pushed his total salary to $4 million a year through 2018.

Spurrier crowed while receiving the Capital One Bowl trophy for beating Wisconsin 34-24 on New Year's Day that it was nice, "but that state championship ain't bad either."

Swinney answered back after the Ohio State victory, saying Clemson was the only school in the state with the BCS bowl win.


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