AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Two weeks ago, University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban got a raise that increased his annual salary to an average of $8.2 million per year, including annual bonuses. The topper, he got a $4 million dollar signing bonus.
When you add the signing bonus, it brings Saban’s pay for 2017 up to $11.15 million, according to Al.com.
Saban’s new deal brings him to the top of the list of USA TODAY’s highest paid head football coaches in college football, more than $2 million than Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is third on the list right at $6.1 million.
With Saban’s pay increase, he could make another $3.6 million bonus if he stays at Alabama through 2021, the money in football coaching contracts continues to escalate.
“I think each school has to look at it on their own and what is right for them and what market they are in,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said to The Clemson Insider at the ACC Spring Meetings from the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Fla. “They have to look at the success of their programs and how much that program brings back to operate the remainder of the athletic program. Or in some cases how it affects the university in general.”
No football coach has affected a university more these days than Dabo Swinney. The Tigers’ head coach has electrified the fan base by putting up Alabama-like numbers in terms of sustainability and success.
Clemson has recorded 70 wins in six years, second only to Alabama. It has had six straight 10-win seasons, second only to Alabama. It has won six bowl games in the last seven years. It has won three ACC Championships. It has won back-to-back ACC Championships for the first time in 28 years and it beat Alabama this past January in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game for its first National Title in 35 years.
How does Saban’s new deal, the guy Swinney just beat for the national title, affect Swinney’s? Keep in mind, Swinney also beat the No. 3 coach on this list, Meyer, by 31 points in the Fiesta Bowl. He also owns two wins over Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, No. 4 on this list, in recent bowl games and two straight wins over Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, who is No. 5.
This past year Swinney, who was No. 12 on the list, netted $6,147,700, which includes bonuses of $1.75 million for winning the national championship and the academic progress. Because his current contract was approved in April of 2016, Swinney was prorated to make $4.4 million without the bonuses.
“I can’t say (coaches’ salaries) are going to go down because I would be moving against 40 or 50 years of history,” Radakovich said. “They have always continued to move forward. I think when you look at where they go on an annual basis, is it slowing down? I don’t know if I have done the detail to understand whether the increase has slowed, but if you have a great coach like we have, you want to make sure you continue to keep Coach Swinney here and make sure he and his staff have the tools to be successful.
“Certainly compensation is one of them. The tools with the Reeves Football Complex is another, the nutrition opportunities for our student athletes, the academic opportunities, it all rolls into one where compensation is just a piece of it.”
However, it’s a big piece.
Radakovich said he and Swinney are having continuing conversations on a new deal to keep the Clemson coach in Tigertown even longer than the current deal he has, which runs through 2021.
“We have spoken about it,” Radakovich said. “It is not anything where we have time limits placed on one another. He is a great coach. He is a super human being. So we want to make sure to keep him and Kathleen here at Clemson.”
“It is actually continuing,” he continued. “We really do not want to put a timetable on it.”
Clemson is likely to increase Swinney’s salary after Fisher received a new contract last December that will reportedly earn him $5.75 million. But Swinney isn’t worried about it.
“Anytime I have had a new contract, it has not been initiated by me,” Swinney said. “It has always been by them. It is just how I have always gone about things. [Radakovich] has mentioned to me we might sit down and talk about it, but it is not that big of a deal to me.
“If they want to sit down and talk about it we will. It is not something I am pressing for or anything like that. I love being where I am at, I have a good contract. He is conscientious of the market. That is his job. I am conscientious of my staff and things like that so I understand. There is nothing really other than that.”
In 2017, Swinney is scheduled to make $4.8 million, then $5.05 million in 2018, $5.25 million in 2019, $5.45 million in 2020 and $5.65 million in 2021.
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