It seems that every offseason rumors of Nick Saban leaving Alabama and heading to the NFL begin.
When Saban does leave Tuscaloosa, whether it is for the NFL or to retire, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is believed to be one of a handful of coaches the Crimson Tide will go after.
Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich has a plan for when that time comes and is hopeful the Tigers will be able to keep Swinney in the Upstate.
“That’s not something that I think about every night when my head hits the pillow, but certainly whether it’s in football or basketball or baseball or any of our sports, as an AD, you have to be ready for some of those things that may come down the path,” Radakovich said.
Swinney, who played and coached at Alabama, has built a powerhouse at Clemson, leading the Tigers to three consecutive College Football Playoffs.
He was No. 2 on USA Today’s list of highest paid coaches in 2017 with bonuses, making more than $8.5 million. Saban was No. 1 at more than $11 million.
“I certainly hope that we’ve been able to demonstrate to Dabo that you can get to the highest level right here at Clemson, and he’s been able to do that. So there’s so many positives about the university,” Radakovich said. “We have a great Board of Trustees. We have an incredible president. We have some alignment going there that has allowed us to do our job, and I think that you don’t find that everywhere, but we have it here. I think that’s a big X factor.”
Last summer, Swinney signed an eight-year deal that pays him $54 million, which is an average of $6.75 million annually.
Radakovich hopes Swinney still feels that he is in a good place financially after signing a new contract in August of 2017.
“We worked last summer to be able to get him into a good place that he was comfortable with and we were comfortable with, so we’re happy, and I hope he’s happy,” Radakovich said. “They just built a new home here, and his son is on the team. I think he’s in a really good place.”
Radakovich went on to say that he does not want to speculate on whether there is a dollar figure that Clemson would be unwilling to pay down the road.
Even though salaries for coaches around the country continue to rise, Radakovich is happy with Clemson’s return on its investment.
“You know, that’s really hard to say. Five years ago, if somebody would have said we would be paying coaches what we’re paying them, I would have said, ‘Well, that’s well beyond the limit.’ So I’ve learned over time not to talk about limits,” Radakovich said. “It’s where you are as a program, what the value is to the institution, and can you do all of the other things to have a Division I program while putting a great amount of resources into our football program.”