CLESMON – BV Day will be remembered as occurring late Wednesday night at Clemson, a time when Clemson made a further financial commitment to football and defensive performance.
To lure Brent Venables from Oklahoma, Clemson is in the process of finalizing a multi-year deal that will pay the former Sooners defensive coordinator more than departed coordinator Kevin Steele’s $675,000 compensation last season, and near $800,000 per season, according to a source.
Other terms of the deal are not immediately known. Venables earned $440,000 last season at Oklahoma.
A Clemson spokesperson said Venables could be introduced as early as Friday, depending on completion of a background check.
Clemson has two coordinators whose combined salary will eclipse $2 million in 2012, the highest combined coordinator pay in the country. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris is the nation’s highest paid assistant with a new deal paying him $1.3 million annually. Clemson paid its entire coaching staff $2.7 million in 2009.
Dabo Swinney confirmed hiring of Venables in a text message to the Post and Courier on Wednesday night. Venables told the Oklahoma radio station ‘The REF’ Thursday he was “humbled” by the counter-offer Oklahoma made him.
“(Oklahoma) offered virtually the same amount of money that Clemson was offering,” Venables said. “At the end of the day it came down to feeling like really it was time for me to go pursue a really unique opportunity, one I didn’t know would maybe come up again.”
Beyond dollars Venables said he was drawn to the rich recruiting grounds of the Southeast and perhaps a better pathway to becoming a head coach.
“I think if we have the kind of success ultimately that we all want to have this could be an opportunity for me down the road to potentially become a head coach one day as well,” Venables said in the radio interview. “I think they’ve got a young team that’s very talented and a really good group of coaches who believe in what they’re doing. Coach Swinney’s got a magnetic personality, very infectious, high energy, attitude and really he’s a very genuine, sincere man, father, coach. I just really was attracted to that and what they’ve got going there right now.”
Venables appeared to go back-and-forth on making a decision this week after visiting Clemson with his wife last weekend.
Venables said he was promised to be the chief defensive coordinator at Oklahoma even after coach Bob Stoops hired his brother, Mike, as a co-defensive coordinator at Oklahoma. Still, the perception is Venables will have greater autonomy at Clemson.
“It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity but to look in the rear-view mirror and to leave behind the relationships … the attachment to the University of Oklahoma and all the people and support, staff and administration, and relationships with the players and the coaches, yes, it’s a sad day,” Venables said, “ one that you never really think about until you have to face it.”