New deals important, Muschamp says, but ‘we’re not celebrating 7 wins’
South Carolina’s football program is not “celebrating seven wins,” head coach Will Muschamp insisted Tuesday, but offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon certainly had something to celebrate.
That’s because McClendon received a $350,000 raise Tuesday and now will be paid $1 million annually, joining the growing ranks of college football assistant coaches making seven figures in salary. McClendon’s raise was one of four football-related contract adjustments approved by the USC Board of Trustees during a Tuesday morning meeting. Muschamp’s contract was extended one year through the 2024 season. Quarterbacks coach Dan Werner received a $200,000 raise to increase his annual compensation to $700,000, and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson received a one-year contract extension to extend his deal through the 2021 season.
“I do want everyone to know we are not celebrating seven wins so let’s make sure that we make that crystal clear, but we needed to keep the continuity of what I think is a really good coaching staff and I appreciate the board and (athletics director Ray) Tanner understanding that.”
McClendon will become the 22nd college football assistant to earn $1 million or more per season, according to annual numbers compiled by USA Today. Eleven of the 21 who earned more than $1 million in 2018 are coordinators at SEC schools, including Robinson, who makes $1.2 million annually.
“From a continuity standpoint it’s really important to keep really good football coaches, and Bryan is a really good football coach on a lot of fronts,” Muschamp said. “No. 1, schematically he does a really nice job with our offense. No. 2, does a great job of relating within our staff and with our players and obviously does a fantastic job of developing players when they get on campus and recruiting players to our campus.”
Only two SEC schools — Alabama and Auburn — paid both coordinators more than $1 million last season, and both schools lost their offensive coordinators to new jobs this month. Being the only school in the conference with two seven-figure coordinators doesn’t concern Tanner, he said.
“If you look at the big picture, we’re in the marketplace,” he said. “I think it’s important that you have the kind of people that you need in those positions, and we feel great about coach Robinson and coach McClendon and the roles that they play on the field and off the field. There have been other schools coming after (Muschamp’s) staff. You want to have staff members that other people want, but you also want to retain them. In the sport of football, the continuity and consistency is so important to everybody.”
McClendon has been on South Carolina’s staff for three seasons. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in the offseason to replace the fired Kurt Roper. He also received a contract extension that now goes through the 2021 season. The Gamecocks finished sixth in the SEC in yards (440.2 per game) and seventh in scoring (32.6 points per game) this year. South Carolina gained 600 yards against No. 2 Clemson on Nov. 24.
Werner was hired to coach quarterbacks in the offseason, taking Roper’s position in that role. He spent the 2017 season as an offensive analyst and was the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss before that. Werner’s name was linked to the Rebels’ vacant offensive coordinator job last week. He made $500,000 in 2018. His contract now runs through the end of the 2020 season.
Muschamp is 22-16 overall and 12-12 in the SEC at South Carolina. He has won more games in his first three seasons than any head coach in the school’s history. Muschamp was given a raise and an extension last year, which made his annual salary for 2018 $4.2 million and included an annual raise of $200,000 through the 2023 season. He is scheduled to make $5.4 million in 2024.
The Gamecocks finished the 2018 regular season 7-5 and will play Virginia in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 29.
“It should be noted that we made some progress with three straight bowl games,” Tanner said. “Are we happy that we’re at seven wins? I don’t think coach Muschamp would tell you he’s happy at seven wins but a lot of good things have happened in our football program and we want it to continue. Being able to continue is keeping your guys together.”
Muschamp’s buyout should he break the contract also was changed. He will owe South Carolina $4 million in year one, $3.5 million year two, $3 million in year three and $1 million after year four if he leaves the school.