New 8-year deal for Dabo nears completion


By Ed McGranahan.

By Ed McGranahan

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Amid indications that a new contract could be completed shortly after Friday night’s Orange Bowl game, Dabo Swinney seemed pleased with the direction and tenor of negotiations with Clemson University, telling The Clemson Insider on Thursday he wanted to further strengthen and extend the relationship.

Though details of the agreement were vague, ideally Clemson’s compensation to the coaching staff would place the program among the top 10 nationally, according to a member of the Clemson Board of Trustees. With more than $4.2 million already committed to assistants, Swinney could be in line for an initial bump from the current $2.2 million annually to a range of $3 million to $3.5 million.

Though he certainly would agree his salary should be reflective of the school’s commitment to the program, Swinney said the scope of a new contract must also include further compensation to staff and solidify the promise of state-of-the-art facilities for the team and the fans.

Also, Swinney has championed incentives, such as the impact of a second ACC championship in a much more competitive league, and strengthening the bonus structure for academic progress scores and graduation rates.

Negotiations began in October and accelerated over the last couple of weeks. Swinney was mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Mack Brown at Texas. And though the smart money is on Art Briles of Baylor with Charlie Strong of Louisville reportedly next on the list, Swinney will not whiff on the current leverage he enjoys.

As the coaching landscape shifts, his salary continues to lose ground, slipping deeper to the middle of the pack at just over $2 million annually behind coaches of fewer accomplishments.

Among the factors that motivate Swinney to invest himself deeper is the wish that his sons finish high school in Clemson, which would be in about eight years.

Swinney said he was encouraged by the vision of his partners, new president James Clements and athletic director Dan Radakovich. He called the hiring of Clements as a “home run.”

One of the points presented on Swinney behalf is that he is the most visible face of Clemson, and that with five prime time TV games this season, his value to the university is immeasurable.

Preferring not to discuss ongoing personnel matters, Radakovich’s decision to proceed with plans to upgrade the boxes in Death Valley, construct a new football operations facility at the practice fields and revamp the game day facilities at the stadium are indicative of his commitment.

A meeting Thursday with the Trustees’ competition committee apparently finalized the details.

Funding should come from an additional $12 million to $20 million in revenue over the next several years once the stadium suites are refurbished and the ACC bumps its shares to league members from a retooled TV contract and proceeds from the new playoff structure.

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