Venables, Clemson assistants command healthy raises; Swinney, Baker earn FCA honors

Clemson assistant coach Brent Venables is now earning $1.35 million as defensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail, Mark Crammer)

CLEMSON - There's no better way to show Brent Venables and the rest of Clemson's assistants they're wanted.

Clemson University released the 2015 salaries for the Tigers' nine full-time assistant coaches Monday, including a startling $1.35 million tab for Venables, who just led Clemson to the No. 1 total defense rating in 2014. The deals were signed Friday.

Venables will, in 2015, earn a higher salary than former offensive coordinator Chad Morris did each of the past three seasons ($1.3 million) before becoming SMU's head coach.

The former Oklahoma defensive boss had been rumored as a candidate in scattered head coach and defensive coordinator searches, but Venables is now inked with Clemson through the 2018 season at a dollar figure that'll be hard to match - at least as an assistant elsewhere.

Venables made $875,000 for his efforts last year, meaning his raise was $475,000.

As was the case with his previous contract, Venables would owe Clemson a 25 percent buyout if he took an outside defensive coordinator position, but his buyout is waived by accepting a head coaching position. (Morris had the same provision.)

With Morris' $1.3 million coming off the books, the eight returning assistants (everybody but incoming quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter) picked up collective raises of $820,000, more than half of which was commanded by Venables.

The two new offensive coordinators, Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, each picked up a six-figure raise. Now making $400,000 a piece, Elliott's earnings increase by 51 percent, and Scott's by 45 percent.

Defensive backs coach Mike Reed earned a pay bump of $25,000. Veteran assistants Marion Hobby, Dan Brooks, Danny Pearman and Robbie Caldwell each were raised $15,000.

Streeter will earn $275,000 this season. All assistants besides Venables (four years) are beginning two-year contracts.

Head coach Dabo Swinney, who signed an eight-year extension last January, is seeing his salary increase from $3.15 million to $3.3 million for the 2015 season.

The overall coaching salary pool was shaved by just $55,000 overall. Including head coach Swinney's already-guaranteed $150,000 raise, more than 95 percent of Morris' $1.3 million salary was re-allocated to the coaching staff.

Swinney was named Grant Teaff National Coach of the Year Monday by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The honor is stated to be awarded to "a football coach who exemplifies Christian principles and who is involved in FCA. The award is also based on the success and performance of the coach's team that season."

Swinney's predecessor, Tommy Bowden, won the award in 2006. Clemson recently wrapped up its fourth consecutive 10-win season under Swinney's watch.

Former Clemson assistant Art Baker, who was head coach at The Citadel from 1978-82, was granted the Grant Teaff Lifetime Achievement Award Monday.

"The Fellowship of Christian Athletes honored two coaching greats who have not only put many W's in the win column, but also impacted countless players during their careers," FCA President and CEO Les Steckel said. "We congratulate Clemson University Head Coach Dabo Swinney and longtime coaching great Art Baker for their many, many contributions to college football."