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Is Dabo over-paid?

Dabo is many things, but stupid is not one of them. His owning the Clemson Board of Trustees and AD during his negotiations for his extension is a prime example. Evidently, he knows how to pick people to represent him (Morris, Venables, his agent...). But, let's take a look at where his salary falls compared to USA Today's NCAAF Coaches Payroll report, which uses 2013 data that is publicly available.

My conclusion, his salary is appropriate for someone who is consistently performing over the past 3 years (ACC Championship, win over LSU, Orange Bowl win - not bad). However, the buy-out is, well, excessive.

Let's not forget Dabo's background of growing up in poverty, so it's understandable that he would trade lower salary for guaranteed money. If you're Radokovich, and you know you're not going to fire him in the next 2-3 seasons no matter his performance, you might as well give him a ridiculous front weighted buy-out so you save money on the salary. However, he gave away too much with the buyouts after year 2.

Based on the 2014 raises and the coaches in the top 15, which is where Dabo has placed his team for the past two years and finished the season ranked 22 in 2011, $3.5m is probably reasonable. Add in the fact that Clemson is quickly becoming a national brand, which has never happened, he may very well be worth $4m. Of course, this is predicated on him continuing to hire great Coordinators.

The problem with the extension isn't with the salary, it's with a guaranteed $24m buyout. No one can hold Dabo responsible for the next 4-5 years. It's actually much better to pay him a higher salary with a lower buyout so his incentives align with the school's.

Take a look at 2013 salaries yourself. Do you think both are crazy, the salary and the buyout, or just the buyout?

Rank School Conference Coach Total
1 Alabama SEC Nick Saban $5,545,852
2 Texas Big 12 Mack Brown $5,453,750
3 Arkansas SEC Bret Bielema $5,158,863
4 Tennessee SEC Butch Jones $4,860,000
5 Oklahoma Big 12 Bob Stoops $4,773,167
6 Ohio State Big Ten Urban Meyer $4,608,000
7 LSU SEC Les Miles $4,459,363
8 Michigan Big Ten Brady Hoke $4,154,000
9 Iowa Big Ten Kirk Ferentz $3,985,000
10 Louisville AAC Charlie Strong $3,738,500
11 Oklahoma State Big 12 Mike Gundy $3,450,000
12 South Carolina SEC Steve Spurrier $3,322,500
13 Georgia SEC Mark Richt $3,314,000
14 Penn State Big Ten Bill O'Brien $3,282,779
15 Clemson ACC Dabo Swinney - 2014 $3,150,000
15 Cincinnati AAC Tommy Tuberville $3,143,000
16 Texas Christian Big 12 Gary Patterson $3,120,760
17 Texas A&M SEC Kevin Sumlin $3,100,300
18 Nebraska Big Ten Bo Pelini $2,975,000
19 Kansas State Big 12 Bill Snyder $2,803,000
20 Missouri SEC Gary Pinkel $2,800,200
21 Florida State ACC Jimbo Fisher $2,750,000
22 Florida SEC Will Muschamp $2,734,500
23 Mississippi State SEC Dan Mullen $2,700,000
24 West Virginia Big 12 Dana Holgorsen $2,630,000
25 Southern California PAC-12 Lane Kiffin $2,594,091
26 Washington PAC-12 Steve Sarkisian $2,575,000
27 North Carolina State ACC Dave Doeren $2,555,000
28 Clemson ACC Dabo Swinney - 2013 $2,550,024
29 Virginia Tech ACC Frank Beamer $2,541,616
30 Georgia Tech ACC Paul Johnson $2,515,500
31 Kansas Big 12 Charlie Weis $2,503,727
32 Auburn SEC Gus Malzahn $2,440,000
33 Utah PAC-12 Kyle Whittingham $2,427,100
34 Baylor Big 12 Art Briles $2,426,360
35 Colorado PAC-12 Mike MacIntyre $2,403,500

Again, this is 2013 salaries, while the ever-present NCAAF arms race pushes them upward. Some examples of premium hires and raises from the past few weeks:

2014 Salaries:

Nick Saban: $7-7.5m

James Franklin: $4m

Charlie Strong: $5m

Steve Spurrier: $4m

These opinions are not necessarily those of the Proprietors of Shakin' The Southland.

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