Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff


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.

New OC Garrett Riley looks to push Clemson offense into next gear

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CLEMSON, S.C. – Garrett Riley is almost familiar with his new facility at Clemson – emphasis on almost.

Riley, who led TCU’s offense on its run to the national title game this past season, took over as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach a few days after the Horned Frogs lost the CFP championship to Georgia last month.

Ever since, he warns recruits when taking them around Clemson’s massive operations center, “better not ask me where something is,” Riley said Wednesday at his formal introduction.

Clemson signed all of its 27-member class in December before the offensive change. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said the program was celebrating its newest members on national signing day, no newcomer more essential than Riley.

Riley, 33, is the reigning Broyles Award winner as the game’s top assistant for what he did at TCU, which went from five victories in 2021 to the College Football Playoff.

Things happened so quickly – Swinney and Riley spoke for the first time the night after TCU’s defeat – that Riley hasn’t had the chance to fully celebrate his accomplishments last season.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said. “It was a great run (at TCU), just like it will be at Clemson.”

Swinney praised his previous coordinator, Brandon Streeter, who led an attack that improved in yards and points from 2021 to 2022 and won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in his only season in charge.

“I just felt like it was the right time,” Swinney said. “We weren’t quite where we needed to be.”

Swinney talked to Riley’s brother, Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley, about Garrett before talking to him directly. Garrett Riley was the only person he talked with about the job, Swinney said.

Garrett Riley played quarterback for Texas Tech and was groomed in the “Air Raid” offense of the late Mike Leach.

Riley said Leach, who died two months ago while he was Mississippi State’s head coach, had a profound impact on his coaching career – and not necessarily for the X’s and O’s.

Leach and his “out of the box thinking were very appealing to me,” Riley said.

More to Swinney’s liking was Riley’s use of the run. TCU finished 31st nationally at nearly 194 yards rushing per game. Riley is still learning new personnel but believes the base for success is there with Tigers runners Will Shipley and Phil Mafah.

Shipley, a first-time All-ACC selection, gained 1,182 yards and 15 touchdowns. Mafah had 515 yards and four TDs.

Riley gets dubbed with the “Air Raid” tag because of his background, Swinney said. “But if you study him, he runs the football,” the head coach continued. “I have no doubt he’s going to make us better offensively.”

Riley had recruited expected Clemson starting quarterback Cade Klubnik to SMU when he worked there a few years back and believes they’ll have a solid, productive partnership going forward.

Every aspect of Clemson’s program gives Riley confidence that the Tigers can land back where TCU was this year in the CFP semifinals, which Clemson has missed the past two seasons after making six straight from 2015 through 2020.

Klubnik became starter late in the season, supplanting DJ Uiagalelei early in the ACC title game, and led the Tigers to a 39-10 victory over North Carolina. Klubnik and the Tigers struggled in their Orange Bowl loss to Tennessee, 31-14.

Riley sees the potential ahead for his new group and sees Klubnik as a driving force.

“I know that kid’s foaming at the mouth just like the rest of our players, and trust me, us coaches are ready to get going, too,” Riley said.

Riley, who was born and raised in Texas, said he and his family were happy at TCU. He wasn’t looking to leave, particularly after the Horned Frogs’ landmark season. But Clemson offered a prime opportunity for Riley to advance his career. He received a three-year contract worth $1.75 million per year.

“It had to be something that was going to check the box in all areas,” Riley said.

Clemson hires TCU’s Garrett Riley as offensive coordinator

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to reignite the Tigers’ attack.

The school’s board of trustees compensation committee approved a three-year contract that will pay the 33-year-old Riley $1.75 million per season.

Swinney hopes the move invigorates an offense that had slipped the past two seasons since Clemson’s last College Football Playoff berth in 2020.

It’s the first time Swinney has gone outside his current staff for a coordinator hire since bringing in Oklahoma’s Brent Venables to lead the Tigers’ defense before the 2012 season.

If Riley can have the impact Venables did from the start, it could spark an group that finished 30th nationally in scoring and 48th in total offense this past fall.

“Garrett has an incredible track record,” Swinney said in a statement. Riley helped TCU finish ninth in scoring offense and get the Horned Frogs from a five-win team in 2021 to the national championship game this season.

“His body of work,” Swinney said, “speaks for itself.”

Swinney cleared the way for Riley when he fired long-time staffer and first-year offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter on Thursday.

Streeter’s offense helped the Tigers through a perfect ACC regular season and a 39-10 victory over North Carolina in the championship game to win their seventh league title in eight seasons. But Clemson was seventh in the league at 404 yards per game and struggled notably in a 35-14 loss at Notre Dame in November and a 31-14 defeat to Tennessee at the Orange Bowl last month.

Swinney said after a deep-dive into the offense, “this was just the right time to make a change.”

Riley will receive a $300,000 signing bonus. His contract also calls for bonuses of $10,000 for reaching ACC championship game to $100,000 if Clemson wins the national championship and the offense is ranked among the top five nationally.

“The opportunity to join a program with such a rich tradition and renowned culture was simply too good for me to pass up,” said Riley, the brother of Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley.

Riley thanked TCU coach Sonny Dykes, the Horned Frogs players, staffers and fans, saying the past season’s run created a “lifetime of memories.”

Riley, who’ll also coach quarterbacks, should have a talent-rich QB room to deal with. Cade Klubnik, who took over for two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei in the ACC title game, will be a sophomore while Chris Vizzina, ranked by as the nation’s seventh best quarterback, signed with the Tigers in December.