A lot of people wonder. With all of its success, why hasn’t Clemson lost more assistant coaches to other jobs, in particular head coaching jobs?
Brent Venables has been one of the two highest paid assistant coaches the last two seasons and was the winner of the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in 2016. Just a few weeks ago, Tony Elliott was named the 2017 recipient of the Broyles Award.
In the past three seasons, Clemson has lost just two coaches, one to retirement and one took a job as an assistant coach in the NFL. Long time defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks, who coached at Clemson for nine years, retired after the Tigers won the national championship last year.
Marion Hobby, who coached Clemson’s defensive ends in two different stints and for the previous six seasons the second time around, left following last year’s national championship win over Alabama. He now coaches the defensive ends for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In recent weeks Venables, Elliott and co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, were all rumored to be looking somewhere else. But when the dust settled on the coaching moves around the county, they all stayed in Clemson where they are planning to help the top-ranked Tigers play for another shot at a national championship.
“When you are coaching at you alma mater, especially at a place like Clemson for a man like Coach (Dabo) Swinney, you are not in a hurry to leave,” Scott said.
Scott has been with Swinney since the very beginning. When Swinney was named interim head coach following Tommy Bowden’s resignation at the midpoint of the 2008 season, Scott was promoted from graduate assistant to wide receiver’s coach.
When Swinney got the job fulltime later that December, he retained Scott as his wide receivers coach and added recruiting coordinator responsibilities to his title as well.
“I feel very blessed that I have been here for every step of the way,” Scott said. “I was here the day he was named interim coach and I have been able to watch how he has built this program into a championship caliber program.”
First Scott watched Swinney guide the Tigers to the ACC Championship Game in his first season as a full-time head coach, something his predecessor failed to do the four previous years when Clemson was one of the favorites. Two years later, he watched Swinney lead Clemson to its first ACC Championship in 20 years and first 10-win season in 21 years.
Now the Tigers are playing in the College Football Playoff for a third straight year, this time as the defending national champions and as the favorite to win it all for a second year in a row.
“It was not easy. It was not some magic formula,” Scott said. “It was really just being very consistent, having a vision and developing a culture and all of those things.
“You learn a lot from the people you are around. Sometimes you learn how you want to do things differently and sometimes you learn the right way to do things and learning from Coach Swinney has prepared all of the coaches, not just the coordinators, but all of us for future opportunities.”
Watching Dabo Swinney build Clemson into one of the country’s elite football programs reminds Scott of another legendary coach he was around, who also won a lot and whom he also learned a lot from being around.
Scott grew up running around on the sidelines and the practice fields while his father, Brad, was the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator for Bobby Bowden at Florida State.
“It reminds me a lot of my dad’s career, being at Florida State for eleven years under Bobby Bowden and the valuable lessons that he was able to learn,” Jeff Scott said. “I was able to learn at a young age so I feel very blessed being around here and being around Coach Swinney every day.
“I’m at a great place, around great people and learning. I enjoy coming to work every day. It is an unbelievable culture that we have here at Clemson.”