COLUMBIA, S.C. – Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has a reworked contract that will pay him $115 million over 10 seasons through 2031.
Swinney’s enhanced contract follows megadeals given to Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart and Ohio State’s Ryan Day earlier this season. Swinney’s average yearly salary of $11.5 million sits only behind Saban’s $11.7 million average compensation.
The university’s board of trustees compensation committee approved the deal Thursday.
Swinney will make $10.5 million this season, a raise of $2 million scheduled under his old agreement signed in 2019. He’ll earn $12.5 million in the contract’s final year, 2031.
Each year, Swinney will get $305,000 in base salary. His supplemental income this season will be $6.695 million plus $3.5 million in licensing money.
Swinney’s total compensation will go up $250,000 for the next four years. He will remain at $11.5 million in 2026 and 2027, then continuing increasing by $250,000 the final four years of the agreement.
“I remain eternally grateful and honored for the opportunity to continue coach and developing young people of excellence,” said Swinney, who is in his 14th full season with the Tigers. “This agreement is representative of what has been collectively built here.”
The 52-year-old has won seven Atlantic Coast Conference titles, made the College Football Playoff six times and won national crowns after the 2016 and 2018 seasons.
The Tigers, fifth in the latest poll, open the home season Saturday against FCS opponent Furman.
Athletic director Graham Neff said it was “critical that Clemson invest in our football program and ensure our head coach is at Clemson for a long, long time.”
The contract includes a different tier for any buyout if Swinney were leave to coach his alma mater, Alabama – $9 million to join the Crimson Tide this year, but just $6 million for any other college head coaching job. Those figures are reduced, but remain different, as the contract continues.
Swinney wouldn’t owe anything if he left to become an NFL head coach.
Clemson would have to pay Swinney $64 million if it dismissed him without cause, a figure that decreases throughout the length of the deal.
There are several contract performance bonuses, including $350,000 for a national title and $200,000 for an ACC championship. Swinney would get $100,000 if his team’s Academic Progress Rate reaches 975 out of 1,000, according to the NCAA’s scale that tracks academic performance.
Swinney was elevated to interim head coach in 2008 at midseason when Tommy Bowden was let go . Then the receivers’ coach, Swinney went 4-2 down the stretch to earn the full-time job.
The Tigers reached their first ACC championship game in 2009, then won the title two years later. In 2015, Clemson began run of six straight league crowns and six consecutive CFP berths.
The Tigers have had 11 straight seasons of 10 wins or more.