Dabo Swinney Among 20 Coaches in $4 Million Club

In 2009, his first full season as Clemson University’s head coach, Dabo Swinney earned $816,850 in total compensation, the 67th highest rate among Division I Bowl Subdivision coaches, according to figures compiled by USA TODAY Sports that year.

Head coaches at Southern Methodist, Hawaii, East Carolina and Connecticut enjoyed higher salaries. Even an assistant coach, Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, earned $90,650 more than Swinney that year.

Swinney’s standing has improved a bit since then.

Swinney will earn $4.42 million in total compensation in 2016, excluding up to $1.725 million in potential bonuses. He is ranked 12th in the most recent USA TODAY Sports compilation, just behind Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and just ahead of former Louisiana State coach Les Miles.

Twenty coaches will earn at least $4 million this year. Sixteen held that distinction last year.

At $3.31 million, Swinney was ranked 26th last year, wedged between UCLA's Jim Mora and Kentucky's Mark Stoops.

Swinney’s annual salary is actually $4.55 million and would rank 10th. But his contract was updated in April and does not align cleanly with the compilation’s calendar year.

Swinney earned at an annual rate of $3.45 million from Jan. 1 to April 12. The 31.8 percent base salary raise kicked in the following day. Swinney also received a one-time $275,000 signing bonus with the new six-year, $30.75 million contract, a reward for the College Football Playoff pinnacle Clemson reached in January.

Swinney steered Clemson to 56 wins, two Atlantic Coast Conference championships and consecutive bowl wins against LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma through the previous five seasons.

Swinney propelled Clemson into national prominence as a program and a brand. Short of the national championship it claimed in 1981, Clemson has enjoyed an unparalleled period of success.

And Swinney has enjoyed a 441.4 percent increase in pay since 2009.

He received $1.1 million in bonuses last season during Clemson’s run to the national championship game. Merely three other coaches— Ferentz ($900,000), Louisville’s Bobby Petrino ($794,667) and Alabama’s Nick Saban ($625,000)— earned more than $500,000 in bonuses last year.

Swinney has enjoyed at least an 11 percent raise in five of the last seven years. His salary was bumped 24.4 percent from 2012 to 2013 and 24.5 percent the following year.

Swinney and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher ($5.25 million) are the only ACC coaches who earn more than $4 million per year. At $3.91 million before bonuses, Petrino could join that class next year.

Muschamp, who is in his first season as the head coach at South Carolina, is ranked 36th among the 119 coaches included in the compilation. His $3,002,500 total compensation rate is the third lowest among Southeastern Conference coaches, ahead of only Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason ($2.56 million) and Missouri’s Barry Odom ($2.35 million).

Yet, this season, Muschamp will earn $271,500 more than he received in 2014, the final year of his four-year term as Florida’s head coach.

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh leads all coaches at $9.004 million, 29.8 percent more than the next highest rate, Saban at $6.93 million. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is listed third at $6.09 million.

In 2009, Swinney was paid like a former wide receivers coach learning on the job. Clemson may never be able to catch Harbaugh’s figure or match the checkbook of Swinney’s alma mater, Alabama. However, at least now, Swinney is paid like a proven winner...at a destination job.

Swinney’s salary was once a risk-free investment. Now, it is a long-term incentive.

2016 COACHING COMPENSATION COMPARISON

ACC

Jimbo Fisher, Florida State, $5,250,000

Dabo Swinney, Clemson, $4,422,700

Bobby Petrino, Louisville, $3,910,434

Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia, $3,275,000

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech, $3,200,000

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech, $2,886,361

Steve Addazio, Boston College, $2,333,628

David Cutcliffe, Duke, $2,320,773

Dave Doeren, North Carolina State, $2,200,000

Dave Clawson, Wake Forest, $2,113,166

Larry Fedora, North Carolina, $1,986,265 (prior to 2015 extension)

Miami, Pittsburgh and Syracuse were not included in compilation

SEC

Nick Saban, Alabama, $6,939,395

Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M, $5,000,000

Gus Malzahn, Auburn, $4,729,500

Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss, $4,703,500

Les Miles, LSU, $4,385,567

Jim McElwain, Florida, $4,268,325

Dan Mullen, Miss. State, $4,200,000

Bret Bielema, Arkansas, $4,145,000

Butch Jones, Tennessee, $4,110,000

Kirby Smart, Georgia, $3,753,600

Mark Stoops, Kentucky, $3,513,600

Will Muschamp, South Carolina, $3,002,500

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt, $2,556,877

Barry Odom, Missouri, $2,350,000


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