Why extensions came with raises for Reed, Eason

Why extensions came with raises for Reed, Eason


Why extensions came with raises for Reed, Eason


Most of Clemson’s assistant football coaches have been extended, but only two of them are going to make more money than they did last season.

Nine members of Dabo Swinney’s on-field staff received one-year contract extensions Friday when Clemson’s board of trustees approved those actions during its winter quarterly meeting. The only one that didn’t was Garrett Riley, who was just hired last month to be the Tigers’ new offensive coordinator.

Defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin, safeties coach Mickey Conn, defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and receivers coach Tyler Grisham will stay at the salaries they made a season ago. Cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason received a $50,000 raise that will pay them $800,000 each this year.

Why were Reed and Eason the only assistants to get a bump in pay? 

Each has additional responsibilities as part of their job. Reed is also the special-teams coordinator and assistant head coach while Eason doubles as Clemson’s run-game coordinator, though Conn (co-defensive coordinator), Goodwin (linebackers coach) and Richardson (passing-game coordinator) also have more than one title. Athletic director Graham Neff said it had more to do with the development and recruiting at the positions coached by Reed and Eason.

Neff said Clemson also wanted to be proactive in doing what it could to keep Reed and Eason in the fold with other opportunities out there. Just last year, Reed was courted by Georgia to join Kirby Smart’s staff before he ultimately chose to stay at Clemson. And with Eason spending 17 years playing and coaching in the NFL before returning to the college game two years ago, the next level is seemingly a constant threat to poach him.

The dynamic at Clemson is different for Eason being that it’s his alma mater – he was an all-ACC defensive lineman for the Tigers in the early 2000s – but he took a job at Vanderbilt in 2019 only to return to the NFL a couple of weeks later. 

“Not to intimate that there were specific opportunities for them,” Neff said following the approval of their raises. “I think there certainly have been in the past and I think that always exists for any of our coaches, but particularly, with those two, because of the performance.”

The longest-tenured assistant on Swinney’s staff, Reed has coached and recruited his position at a high level during his time at Clemson. Six Clemson corners have been drafted since Reed joined the staff in 2013 with five being taken in the top three rounds, including first-rounder A.J. Terrell (2020). The Tigers had a pair of all-ACC corners during the 2021 season in Andrew Booth and Mario Goodrich before both moved on to the NFL.

Clemson’s secondary took a step back this past season following their departures as the Tigers finished 76th nationally in pass defense, but Reed has helped stock some more young talent at his position. The Tigers landed two blue-chippers, Jeadyn Lukus and Toriano Pride Jr., in the 2022 recruiting cycle and signed four more corners this year, including four-star prospects Avieon Terrell and Branden Strozier.

Meanwhile, Eason has made a significant impact in his one year at Clemson when it comes to the development and recruiting of interior defensive linemen.

Tyler Davis earned All-America honors this past season while fellow defensive tackle Bryan Bresee is widely projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Eason was also a key cog in the Tigers flipping four-star defensive tackle Caden Story from Auburn late in last year’s recruiting cycle, and he helped Clemson land one of the nation’s top defensive line hauls this year. The star-studded group is headlined by the Tigers’ top signee, five-star tackle Peter Woods, and fellow blue-chipper Vic Burley.

“You get the performance and the development on the field with their position groups,” Neff said. “And, sure, the recruiting aspect. I know there’s a lot of momentum with that within the program, let alone how Nick and Mike do that.”

Neff also credited Reed and Eason for helping recruit some of the Tigers’ current players back for another season. Corner Sheridan Jones and safety Jalyn Phillips elected to use their COVID years to return for a fifth season, which means, barring any transfers this spring, Clemson will return every starter in the secondary next season. Davis and fellow tackle Ruke Orhorhoro, both of whom could’ve left for the NFL, are among the veteran defensive linemen that elected to put the next level on hold for one more year.

“Eason and Reed are a big part of why they came back, for development and another year of experience with them,” Neff said. “You think through the guys that have come back, between Ruke and Tyler, (defensive end) Xavier Thomas … and then Sheridan and Jalyn with Reed, they’re a big part of that.”

Dear Old Clemson has added the Tiger Sack Pack to our online store.  Save by getting the Two Pack of signed cards from two of the nation’s top defensive ends, Myles Murphy and Xavier Thomas.

Now there is a new way you can support Clemson student-athletes. Purchase collectibles from Dear Old Clemson and the proceeds with go to support Clemson student-athletes. 

Dear Old Clemson is doing NIL the ‘Clemson way’, but we need your help to make sure we build a sustainable, repeatable model that will help keep Clemson competitive with the other top programs around the nation.

Dabo Swinney: “We need your assistance more than ever to provide meaningful NIL opportunities. Tiger Impact, Dear Old Clemson and other collectives allow student-athletes to utilize their voice and platform to maximize their NIL opportunities and strengthen their impact in the community.”

Graham Neff:
“Tiger Impact, Dear Old Clemson and other collectives need your support to help provide meaningful NIL opportunities for our student athletes. We are doing things the right way, the Clemson way with integrity as a non-negotiable and we fully support the mission of these groups.”

Join the Tiger Club or Lady Tiger Club to help these great student-athletes and help the Tigers compete at the highest level!



The Clemson men’s basketball program has picked up a commitment from a transfer guard. Jake Heidbreder announced his commitment to the Tigers on Wednesday night. As a sophomore at Air Force in 2022-23, Heidbreder (…)

More The Clemson Insider