Tony Elliott joined an exclusive club on Thursday. The Board of Trustees Compensation Committee at Clemson University approved a deal in which Clemson added three years to his contract and gave him a pay increase from $1.7 million to $2 million annually.
With the $300,000 hike in pay, Elliott is now the third highest paid assistant coach in college football, behind Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables ($2.4 million) and Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko ($2.1 million).
What does it all mean?
It means Clemson takes care of its coaches and in Venables’ and Elliott’s case they make more than a lot of FBS head coaches, including Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, who USA Today reported on Nov. 17, 2020 made $1.8 million.
As a collective group, Clemson’s 10 on-field coaches will make $8.325 million in 2021, one of the best paid coaching staffs in the country. Last year, Clemson’s 10 assistant coaches made $8.145 million.
“There is a great commitment. Football does an awful lot for Clemson, as a university, and certainly for us as an athletic program,” Radakovich said.
“If you go back a couple of years when Jeff [Scott] and Tony were here and you added up the offensive staff, we are really only 3.9 percent increases from 2019 to ’20 and ’20 to ’21,” he continued. “Some of the folks will look at that as inflationary or CPI, but we are changing some of the people within the program, and that allows us to stay within a pretty good budget range. But it also rewards those folks that have had opportunities to go elsewhere but chose to stay here at Clemson. The consistency of the staff that Coach Swinney has been able to have, I think, very much has shown that is a pretty big lever as it relates to success.”
Venables makes more than 61 FBS head coaches, including Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. The Deacons reported he was paid $2.3 million. Venables also made more than his former Clemson colleague, Jeff Scott, who made $2.23 million at South Florida in 2020.
Jeff Heupel, who was named Tennessee’s head coach on Jan. 25, was making $2.3 million when he was the head coach at UCF.
Some notable Group of Five head coaches Venables and Elliott make more money than, include Colorado State’s Steve Addazio ($1.5 million), UConn’s Randy Edsall ($1.2 million), FIU’s Butch Davis ($1.04 million), San Diego State’s Brady Hoke ($1.0) and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Billy Napier ($1.005 million).
Former Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill, who has been the head coach at Middle Tennessee for 16 years, is making $901,504. Marshall head coach Doc Holliday made $762,000 in 2020, while App State’s Shawn Clark made $750,000.
Former Florida State head coach Willie Taggart is making $750,000 at Florida Atlantic, while longtime Group of Five coach Skip Holtz is bringing home $700,000 at Louisiana Tech.
In case you are wondering, Coastal Carolina head coach Jamie Chadwell is making just $319,886. Only two of Clemson’s assistant coaches—Tyler Grisham and C.J. Spiller—are making less. They both make $300,000 annually.