Swinney on cusp of big incentives

Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.

CLEMSON — While Clemson football players might be searching for incentive Saturday at N.C. State with a division title already secured, Dabo Swinney has 20,000 reasons to be motivated.

The Clemson coach receives a $20,000 bonus if Clemson (9-1, 6-1 ACC) reaches 10 wins, the first in a series of attainable incentive clauses in an important finish to the season — financially — for Swinney.

The greatest contract escalator for Swinney is tied to an Atlantic Coast Conference title. With a league title, Swinney’s base compensation rises from $1.75 million to the median pay of the top seven compensated ACC coaches — approximately $2.2 million.

Swinney has additional incentives including $75,000 bonuses for ACC title and BCS bowl wins, academic bonuses, and a $100,000 bonus for national coach of the year honors.

Swinney is signed through 2014 and has a chance this season to reach all major contract escalators in the incentive-laden deal he signed prior to the 2009 season. Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips was asked by The Post and Courier if he will consider extending and amending Swinney’s contract this offseason.

“We will take a look at (Swinney’s contract) relative to the market,” Phillips said. “The market changes once you write a contract, things shift and change. We are just now getting information back from the previous year.”

Swinney has arguably been one of the best values in college football in two out of the three years he has presided over the Clemson program.

He made $900,000 in 2009 when leading Clemson to nine wins and an Atlantic Division title.

Swinney’s current pay is well below the average head coaching salary in the Southeastern Conference — $3.1 million — and is the sixth-highest amount in the ACC, trailing Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher ($2.75 million), Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson ($2.4 million), Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe ($2.275 million), Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer ($2.25 million) and Maryland’s Randy

Edsall ($2.01 million), according to 2011 compensation figures compiled by USA Today.

Average pay for major-college head football coaches rose 7.3 percent from 2010. The average compensation for a head coach is $1.47 million, a jump of nearly 55 percent in six seasons according to the newspaper.

“I do want to pull his contract and review it thoroughly when things slow down,” Phillips said. “There are things I’m sure he’d like to visit about and things I’d like to visit about. That review will be coming up fairly quick.”