Tennessee gives Josh Heupel big pay raise to $9 million

Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee gave coach Josh Heupel a big raise that puts him among the highest-paid coaches in college football after he led the Volunteers to their best season in more than 20 years.

Heupel will make $9 million per year through the 2028 season under the contract extension announced by the school and signed Jan. 19. That’s an increase from the $5 million extension signed last July that pushed his deal through 2027.

Athletic director Danny White said Heupel’s results speak for themselves with an 18-8 record, including 11-2 last season, capped by a win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. White said Heupel and his staff have energized the program and fans with his aggressive style of football.

“We just needed an innovative leader like Josh Heupel to reignite the spark,” White said of program that dealt with what he called a brief period of dormancy. “It’s been fun to crash the party, but as Josh said after our Orange Bowl triumph, the best is yet to come.”

The Vols have beaten seven Top 25 teams since Heupel was hired in January 2021, which ranks third nationally among FBS head coaches in that span. Tennessee went 3-7 in 2020 before Heupel was hired to replace Jeremy Pruitt.

Tennessee finished Heupel’s second season ranked sixth by The Associated Press college football poll, the Vols’ highest finish since 2001.

The pay increase features a $225,000 base salary with $8.725 million in supplemental pay.

Heupel’s bonus if he wins a national championship was doubled from $500,000 to $1 million. He now is among at least 10 head football coaches at public schools making at least $9 million.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.