Clemson, coach Dabo Swinney agree to 'enhanced' $115M contract

Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney is now under contract through 2031. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
1 of 5 | Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney is now under contract through 2031. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Clemson University and coach Dabo Swinney agreed to an "enhanced" contract, which will run through the 2031 college football season, the school announced Thursday.

The university's board of trustees compensation committee approved the pact, which will pay Swinney an average of $11.5 million per season, according to a term sheet obtained by UPI.


The $115 million deal is the largest overall contract for any college football coach. Swinney will make $10.5 million this season and $12.5 million in the final year of the deal.

The pact also includes an array of benefits. Swinney will get a cellphone stipend, two vehicles and dozens of tickets to Tigers sporting events, including a 22-seat suite and 20 tickets to home and away football games.

The maximum cumulative incentives of the deal total $1.5 million per season.

"It is hard for me to believe I am in my 14th full season as your head coach, and I remain eternally grateful and honored for the opportunity to continue coaching and developing young people of excellence at Clemson." Swinney said in a news release.

"This agreement is representative of what has been collectively built here and the success we've had both academically and athletically."


The average annual value of Swinney's deal only trails the salary of Alabama coach Nick Saban ($11.7M). George coach Kirby Smart ranks third, with an average salary of $11.25 million per season.

Clemson gave Swinney a 10-year, $93 million contract extension in 2019, which ran through 2028, and was the richest deal for a coach in college football history at the time.

The term sheet for Swinney's deal includes a $64 million buyout clause in its first year. Deal terms specify that Swinney would have to pay Clemson $9 million if he left the school to take the same job at Alabama -- or $6 million if he left to coach any other school -- this season. Those amounts decrease each year.

He would not need to pay the school if he left to take an NFL head coach position at any point.

Swinney, 52, became Clemson's coach in the middle of the 2008 season. He served as an assistant coach at the school from 2003 through 2008. He also served as an assistant at Alabama from 1993 through 2000.

He owns a 151-36 record over his 15-year tenure as Tigers coach.

Swinney owns an 11-7 record in the postseason, including a 4-2 mark in the College Football Playoff. He led the Tigers to national titles in 2017 and 2019.


The Tigers beat Georgia Tech 41-10 in their season opener Monday in Atlanta. They will host Furman at 3:30 p.m. EDT Saturday in Clemson, S.C.

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