Retaining its assistant coaches has played big role in Tigers’ climb to the top
A lot of people not associated with Clemson often ask how the Tigers have been able to maintain their success to the level they have in the last eight years.
The answer is simple. They retain their assistant coaches.
When you look at Dabo Swinney’s on-field coaching staff, every coach on it is heading into their third season at Clemson. While schools like Alabama and Georgia have to replace their top assistants, Dabo Swinney just keeps trucking with a staff that has a combined 75 years of coaching experience just at Clemson.
It’s unheard of in college football these days and most of Swinney’s football operations team is the same. From the analysists to the graduate assistants, to the administrators, most have been at Clemson for at least three years and most graduated from Clemson.
It truly is a “Clemson Family” inside the football offices.
On the field, Clemson has three of the best coordinators in the country. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is the highest paid assistant coach in the country in terms of years and total compensation, and deservedly so.
Venables won the 2016 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach and a year later co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott did the same, the first time in the history of the award that two coaches from the same coaching staff won the prestigious honor in back-to-back years.
Fellow co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott has not won the Broyles Award yet, but it is just a matter of time. Scott was named the best recruiter in college football by 247Sports last year and was ranked as the country’s fifth best assistant coach by 247Sports on Tuesday.
Venables was ranked No. 1 on its list, while Elliott was put on it at No. 3.
Since 2014, Clemson’s defense has been ranked in the top 10 every year in total defense and all but one year in scoring defense. The Tigers led the nation in total defense in 2014 and last year they led the nation in scoring defense.
Clemson has also consistently been one of the top units in sacks and tackles for loss. The Tigers led the nation in both this year and have 20 more sacks than anyone else nationally the last four years combined.
On the offensive end, Clemson ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring, total offense and rushing offense in 2018. During its run of eight straight 10-wins seasons, the Tigers have consistently been one of the best offenses in the country year in and year out.