CLEMSON -- Chad Morris, the nation's highest-paid assistant, appears to be staying at Clemson until a head coaching opportunity arises.
Morris' six-year, $7.8 million contract contains considerable penalties if he were to depart for another assistant coaching position. The agreement also contains considerable incentives should Morris guide Clemson to a top 10-ranked offense.
The Post and Courier obtained a copy of the contract Thursday.
There is no exit penalty if Morris breaks his agreement to become a head coach, but should Morris depart for an assistant coach position during the first three years of his new agreement, the contract calls for Morris to pay "liquidated damages in the sum of his annual total compensation multiplied by the number of years or portion thereof remaining in this agreement." Meaning, if Morris left to become a coordinator elsewhere before the end of the2014 season, he would be required to pay a multi-million dollar penalty.
If Morris left for an assistant position in the final three years of his deal, the agreement calls for Morris to pay 25 percent of his remaining total compensation as a penalty.
As for incentives, Morris has a chance to remain at the top of the assistant compensation pay scale during the length of the deal.
If Clemson ranks in the top five of total offense or wins the ACC title, Morris' compensation increases to a rate equal to the average of the two highest-paid offensive coordinators in the country for the remainder of his contract. The clause would not apply if Morris remains the highest-paid assistant.
A top-10 total offense finish calls for Morris to earn the average of the top three compensated offensive coordinators nationally.
If Clemson should decide to terminate the contract, there is no specific buyout. Instead, Morris' remaining compensation is subject to mitigation.
Compensation for assistant coaches could soar in the wake of Morris' deal as a new benchmark and with millions of more dollars expected to flow into athletic department coffers from renegotiated television contracts.
Morris is now under contract at Clemson (through 2017) longer than coach Dabo Swinney (2014), whose own contract has increased to approximately $2.2 million per season.
Morris is in his first season at Clemson, where he led the Tigers to a dramatic offensive turnaround. Clemson ranks 29th in total offense after ranking 88th in total offense last year. Morris, two years removed from being a high school head coach in Texas, signed a four-year deal worth $450,000 earlier this year when he left Tulsa for Clemson.