Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has had plenty of opportunities to try his hand at head coaching gig. But so far, he hasn’t found a head job worth leaving his current position.
Last week the Clemson University Board of Trustees approved a $100,000 raise for Venables that increased his annual salary to $2.5 million, extended his commitment to 2026 and cemented his spot as the highest paid assistant coach in college football.
For Venables the reason he has remained in Tiger Town is not the money but the fact he and his family are happy, and he doesn’t want to screw it up.
“If that happens that’s not the worst thing that could ever happen, I’ve never thought so much of myself that I looked at life that way,” Venables said at Clemson Football Media Day on Tuesday. “You want fulfillment, and you don’t want to screw up happy and that’s easy to do if you’re not careful.”
Venables’ purpose in life is to coach and teach young men and in his assessment, he doesn’t need to be a head coach to fulfill that purpose.
“I’m able to come to work every day to chase and fulfill my purpose every day,” Venables said. “So, whether I’m in a head coach’s office or I’m down the hall I’m leading, teaching and doing what I want to do.”
Venables has been the defensive coordinator for the Tigers since 2012. In that time he’s grown comfortable at Clemson and knows its hard to find a similar environment if he took a head coaching job.
“The people, the opportunity to be successful, the players, the type of people you can recruit, the established environment and established culture is hard to beat,” Venables said. “You have a beautiful, simple life in a very connected community and campus.”
A key feature of Dabo Swinney’s tenure at Clemson is continuity in his staff. The same cannot be said about other successful programs like Alabama that undergo major staff changes almost every year due to coordinators taking head coaching jobs at other school.
Venables knows other coordinators who have moved on to take head coaching jobs and later regretted the move. He hasn’t eliminated the possibility of moving on one day but wants to take the right job if he does.
“You don’t want to screw up a good thing and I’ve seen a lot of coaches prematurely take their super whistle and all their coaching acumen and they go somewhere else and don’t have the same kind of success,” Venables said. “I love winning and I love to be successful and I don’t think that much of myself to think I can just go anywhere.”