The Greenville News, quotes Kevin Steele as saying that money had little to do with the possible change of schools and he believes that he did the right thing to stay at Clemson.
"At the end of the day, Clemson is a special place. It's a special time at Clemson," Steele said Wednesday. "We've asked those players to lay it on the line, be committed. We're still in the process of learning how to do that. I just feel like that, for me, it's supposed to be about the players, and I want to be part of helping them finish what they've started."
"I started in this profession eating cheese sandwiches," he said. "It's never been about the money."
"Regardless of what people might believe, it's a factual statement that money was never discussed in this process with Clemson University," he said.
"I've never talked to (athletic director) Terry Don Phillips or Dabo Swinney about one nickel. Not one nickel. And actually did the other. I told Dabo, ‘Coach, if you want to discuss money it's going to offend me because it's not about money.' "
"It came down to practicing what you preach," he said. "You preach being fully committed to the process to make something special happen."
"We started something. We're not even close to being there yet," Steele said. "I've preached all year long it's about the process. Now I want to give up on the process? And I'm supposed to be an educator?
"The bottom line is I believe in what we're doing at Clemson. I believe in the players. And I believe in the way we're doing it," he said. "We've just scratched the surface, and I'm having fun doing it."
But the fact is, as I covered when he joined the staff, that Steele has never stuck around in one place too long. We know that Steele wants to be a head coach again someday, so if he builds up a championship-level defense, as I believe he will once we get LBs, he's gonna be gone.
Heather Dinich published an article showcasing the latter parts of what Steele said above, saying that it was his players who talked him into staying.
He was sitting in his office on Tuesday afternoon, making calls to recruits and still undecided about his future when he heard shouts of disappointment and "Tell me it ain't so!" coming down the hallway. The rumor had spread that Steele was leaving for Tennessee.
Some were in tears.
"It broke me down," Steele said.
Safety DeAndre McDaniel came into his office chomping angrily on a lollipop and said: "Talk to me, coach."
"I've chased career dreams before," he said. "That's when I just said, 'You know what? I like doing what I'm doing where I'm doing it right now.'
"There’s been a lot of things talked about and said about my future in coaching and where that would be in lines of being offered jobs, how much jobs paid, along those lines. The bottom line is this: Coaches are always involved in possibilities of being one of many candidates and sometimes a strong candidate to be somewhere. That happens to coaches all the time. This happened to become public. I wish it hadn’t, but it did. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, I’m excited about the kind of players we have at Clemson, the progress we’re making, and the direction things are headed. I just felt like the best place for me to do what I do was at Clemson. At the end of the day, it’s about the players. And at the end of the day that’s why I’m at Clemson."
Travis Sawchik talks about the raise that Steele is likely to get. UT's offer was a package starting in the 675K range and going up to 800K, similar to what Swinney made this past season. Clemson's Athletic Department appears to have stepped up to the plate and given him a considerable raise from the 3 year - 375K per annum we lured him from Alabama with, raising it to 575K. No where have I seen evidence that this is coming from Swinney's money.
Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips received a call at noon Tuesday from head coach Dabo Swinney. Swinney said Steele had received a lucrative offer to become Tennessee's defensive coordinator and he was "concerned."
"He felt like he may not be able to keep Kevin," Phillips said.
Steele was reportedly close to accepting a contract worth $750,000 per year, an offer Clemson did not match, though the Tigers raised Steele's compensation to $575,000 per year, according to a source.
"I was considered for a position," Steele said. "I did wrestle with it. 'Should I pursue it or not?' At the end of the day I came to the conclusion Clemson was a special place. I think we are there at a special time. The players are the reason we are there."
Steele said the events had nothing to do with negotiating leverage.
Phillips said Steele met with Swinney in the mid-afternoon Tuesday, reporting he declined Tennessee's offer before ever negotiating a new contract with Clemson.
"There wasn't any financial commitment that Dabo made to him at that time," Phillips said.
After that meeting, Swinney met with Phillips, and talks of amending Steele's contract began. Phillips then called Clemson president James Barker.
"I don't know if we call it a victory or not," said Phillips of keeping Steele from leaving to a powerful SEC school, preferring to say it shows coaches "recognize Clemson is a great place to coach football."
Phillips said he will meet with Swinney after signing day to talk about amending other staff members' contracts.
Phillips traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday for the ACC's winter meetings. The most important topic discussed will be the conference's negotiation of a new television deal.
And the ACC needs that new TV deal money.
This offseason we're going to take a look at Clemson's finances within the AD and compare it to other local competition. The first thing you do in business when you're behind is benchmark the competition, so thats what we're going to look into here.
My research so far shows that we are well behind most of the schools we compete with recruits for. Its a rather large task to undertake and the amount of research is significant for someone who doesn't specialize in accounting, so I do need help getting my hands on these figures and then interpreting what is spent on the big 3 sports. We intend to look at the most local schools including FSU, Georgia, Tennessee, SC, Auburn and Alabama for football first. Anyone who wishes to help should contact us, the email addresses are available below.