A shiny trophy and bragging rights are not the only rewards Clemson University coach Dabo Swinney will chase in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday night against North Carolina.
Swinney could notch his second league title within the last five years, a berth into the College Football Playoff and, in this unstable climate, a little job security.
He also could reap a significant Christmas bonus.
According to the terms of his contract, a victory Saturday night will net Swinney $500,000 in performance bonuses and a $50,000 bump to his annual base compensation through the remaining six years of the agreement.
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Swinney earned a $50,000 bonus for winning the ACC Atlantic Division championship. He will receive another $100,000 for winning the conference title. That victory presumably will secure Clemson a spot in the College Football Playoff, which would earn Swinney a $400,000 bonus. He could earn an additional $100,000 for winning the CFP national championship.
Swinney’s base compensation package for this season, $3.31 million, ranked 26th among the 121 coaches’ salaries included in a USA Today Sports compilation. According to terms of the contract, Swinney’s base salary was scheduled to increase to $3.45 million next season and in each of the remaining six years of the agreement, regardless of his record, honors or achievements.
However, an ACC title would push Swinney’s base salary to $3.5 million for the remainder of the contract. According to the USA Today figures, that would nudge Swinney to No. 24, one slot behind Tennessee’s Butch Jones and one spot ahead of Washington’s Chris Peterson.
When Swinney signed this eight-year agreement in January 2014, that $3.45 million salary would have ranked him in the Top 15.