Tommy Bowden will remain at Clemson after seriously considering a move to Arkansas.
Two sources familiar with his decision told The Post and Courier on Tuesday morning that Bowden, who was expected to receive a lucrative offer to be the Razorbacks coach, is staying with the Tigers.
It was not immediately clear if Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips made a counteroffer. Sources say Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, a close friend of Bowden's, was prepared to offer him a package of at least $2.5 million.
The news was confirmed later Tuesday morning, when Clemson announced Bowden had agreed to a contract extension. Terms of the deal were not
"I'm very pleased with the contract extension agreement that we reached today," Bowden said in a statement released by Clemson.
As of late Monday night, all indications pointed to Bowden having a decision to make: head to Arkansas and take a fat pay raise, or remain at Clemson and accept a contract extension he had initially rejected.
Phillips and Bowden had been in negotiations for a week without coming to an agreement. Sources say Phillips offered to bump Bowden's total package from $1.3 million to $1.59 million, plus a two-year extension to a contract that had three years remaining after this season. Bowden's buyout drops from $2.5 million to $500,000 in a year, but Phillips offered to keep it at $2.5 million.
Apparently much of that was unacceptable to Bowden. Phillips had also rebuffed Bowden's request for multi-year contracts for his nine assistant coaches.
Bowden, whose No. 15 Tigers (9-3) play No. 22 Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31, emerged as Arkansas' top candidate after Long was rebuffed by Auburn's Tommy Tuberville and North Carolina's Butch Davis.
Bowden and Long coached together at Duke in 1986 and have remained close since. The Razorback Foundation, the fundraising arm of Arkansas' athletic department, was expected to meet this morning to finalize a contract offer for Bowden.
The 53-year-old Bowden is 69-41 in nine years at Clemson with an ACC record of 42-30. The Tigers have been eligible for a bowl every year under his watch, and they secured their third nine-win season over that span with a 23-21 victory at South Carolina on Nov. 24.
Yet Bowden has never been fully embraced by Clemson faithful, and sources close to him say that's a major reason he was seriously considering the move.
The past three years, the Tigers have fallen just short of the ACC title game. Clemson's last ACC title was in 1991.
Reach Larry Williams at email@example.com.