CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some college coaches in the state of South Carolina are among the highest paid in the entire profession.
But at least some of that money comes out of your pockets as tax dollars help pay for salaries at state schools. There’s more than just salary involved as well, as most coaches have several perks worked into their deals from cars and game tickets all the way up to jets.
Back in April, Clemson and Dabo Swinney agreed to the single largest contract in the history of college football.
After leading the Tigers to two national championships in three seasons, Swinney got a 10 year extension worth $93 million.
But for Swinney, like with most coaches, the compensation for his duties don’t end with just the money.
A look over the coach’s new deal shows that in addition to salary, Swinney receives two new cars that are replaced every twelve months along with insurance and property taxes. He also receives a paid membership to a country club of his choice.
Clemson also pays for Swinney’s family to travel to away games. And when the they play in Death Valley, he’s given a suite plus 20 more tickets on top of that. And when they go to a postseason game, he gets 40 tickets. He’s also given access to the school’s airplane to use for official duties.
One of the reasons Swinney has had so much success, is he’s put together a great staff and he takes care of them as well.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables is the 2nd highest paid assistant coach in the country making $2.2 million. Co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott each rank in the top 35 in the country as well making over $850,000 a year.
The school also has the option to give each of them one car every year.
Swinney’s counterpart at South Carolina, Will Muschamp, isn’t quite on Dabo’s level salary wise, but he’s still doing pretty well. Muschamp’s salary of $4.2 million puts him in the top 25 in the country. And he gets a lot of the same perks like two cars, a club membership, a suite and eight extra tickets for home games. 12 tickets for away games, paid travel for his family and 24 tickets to a bowl game.
The Gamecocks are also competitive when it comes to Frank Martin’s contract.
The head basketball coach ranks in the top 25 making almost $3 million. And like most coaches, that number can go up with incentives such as tournament appearances or award wins. But Martin also has a clause that gives him a $50,000 bonus if season ticket sales increase by 1000 over the previous season and another 15 thousand if the Gamecocks have at least four regular season games that are attended by at least 16,000 people. The coach also gets two cars, a club membership, a suite and 14 tickets to each home game.
Back in the upstate, Brad Brownell’s salary of over $2.7 million puts him in the top 30 in the country. And he gets similar perks as well including two cars, a club membership, paid travel for his family to away games and 10 tickets for each home game.
For comparison, here in the Lowcountry, Earl Grant at the College of Charleston got a big bump in salary after the Cougars reached the NCAA Tournament in 2018 for the first time in almost two decades. Grant got an extension and a raise that put him at over $650,000 per year. Which, for a school the size of CofC, is a massive commitment. The school also provides Grant with two cars.
And how much is a national championship worth? If you’re Dawn Staley coaching women’s basketball at South Carolina, it’s worth just under 1.5 million per season. That’s the second best in the SEC. Staley also receives a car from the university, a club membership and a suite to each game.
Now in doing this research, we started to wonder what some of the oddest things a coach might have asked for when negotiating a contract. I reached out to a number of current and former athletic directors in the state. Former CofC AD Joe Hull told me one coach asked for a paid dinner at Hall’s Chophouse once a month for the length of the deal. Another former AD at the College, Jerry Baker, said he once had a coach ask for an interest free loan on a new house.