Rittman and Butler also received pay raises
The Clemson University Board of Trustees Compensation Committee officially approved a contract extension and raise for defensive coordinator Brent Venables on Wednesday.
As The Clemson Insider reported on Tuesday, Venables’ contract was extended back to five years, meaning his contract is scheduled to run through January 31, 2026.
The Compensation Committee also approved a pay increase of $100,000 for Venables, which brings his annual salary to $2.5 million. Venables is now believed to be the highest paid assistant coach in the country.
Clemson also discussed and approved a pay increase for head softball coach John Rittman, while head women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler had her salary increased to $450,000 per year for the last three years of her contract. She was scheduled to make $425,000 this year and next and then $450,000 on her last year.
Butler also has incentive bonuses in her contract, including a $50,000 bonus for earning one of the top two seeds in an ACC Tournament or $40,000 for a top 4 seed.
She can also make up $50,000 for winning an ACC Tournament Championship and $30,000 for making the NCAA Tournament.
As for Rittman, he will see his new total compensation increase to $210,000 this year. He was scheduled to make $165,000 this coming year.
Rittman, who led Clemson to an ACC Regular Season Championship in his first full season, will make $185,000 this year, $200,000 in 2022-’23, $215,000 in 2023-’24 and $230,000 in 2024-’25. Also, if he is employed by the University on August 15 of the corresponding year, he will earn a $25,000 bonus.
Like Butler, he has built in incentive bonuses, including $7,500 each for winning an ACC Regular Season Championship and/or an ACC Tournament Championship. He can make another $7,500 for making the NCAA Tournament.
The Compensation Committee approved the three contracts at its quarterly meeting from the Madren Center in Clemson on Wednesday.
Venables originally signed a five-year deal back in July of 2018 that gave him the largest contract of any assistant coach in college football at the time. The deal was worth $11.6 million dollars, including incentives and retention bonus.
Clemson did rework some of Venables’ contract.
“Brent was really kind of easy,” Clemson athletic Director Dan Radakovich said. “It was basically a $100,000 increase in total compensation, taking him from $2.4 to $2.5 million. There is a split-dollar life insurance policy embedded in there and we added back his one year.”
The Tigers’ defensive coordinator could also make up to $295,000 in bonuses should Clemson win another national championship and have a top 5 defense.
With Kevin Steele not coaching football this year, Steve Sarkisian now the head coach at Texas and Bo Pelini no longer at LSU, Venables annual salary is the largest in college football.
The Clemson defensive coordinator made $2.16 million last year, which ranked fourth in the country according to USA TODAY Sports. He did have a voluntary reduction of $240,000 in 2020, which was related to COVID-19.
Since Venables took over in 2012, Clemson has produced one of the top defenses in the country every year. Last year, the Tigers tied for first nationally in sacks with 46 and were second in tackles for loss with 109.
In 2020, Clemson led the ACC in total defense, tied for first in interceptions and ranked second in scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
In February, the Compensation Committee approved a raise for offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. His annual salary went from $1.7 million to $2 million, making him the third highest paid assistant coach in college football, behind Venables’ $2.5 million and Texas A&M’s Mike Elko ($2.1 million).
“That was important to Dabo,” Radakovich said. “That was one of his motivations in moving up to $100,000.”
The board approved a three-year extension for Elliott which will run through January 31, 2026. Elliott’s raise was effective on July 1. His $125,000 retention and incentive bonus will be effective on Aug. 1.
“If you look over the past six or seven years, part of the secret sauce, if there really is any, as it relates to the success of our football program, is the fact that Dabo has been able to retain his assistants,” Radakovich said. “He likes that, it is great for the players, they have that constant voice. It is good for Dabo, he continues to have the same people around him and that is something that I think is really important for the success of our program. And we have had success.
“So, I think rewarding that success is important. We have been able to do that. The board has been very helpful in making that happen and we wanted to make sure we continued that into this year. We had one round of the folks that we did back in February. Brent’s took a little longer and that is why we are doing this today.”