Clemson DC Brent Venables Becomes CFB's Highest-Paid Assistant with New Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 14, 2021

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables acknowledges fans after the football team returned to campus Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Clemson, S.C., the day after the Tigers defeated Alabama 44-16 in the College Football Playoff championship game. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
AP Photo/Richard Shiro

The last time the Clemson defense was on the field it gave up six touchdown passes to Justin Fields in a 49-28 loss to Ohio State, but Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables became the highest-paid assistant coach in college football Wednesday.

Clemson's Board of Trustees compensation committee approved a contract extension through 2026 that is worth $2.5 million annually, per David M. Hale of ESPN. The new deal pays him $100,000 per year more and adds another season to the contract he already had in place.

The contract also features bonuses for making the College Football Playoff and finishing in the top five in the country in total defense.

Venables' $2.5 million per year would have equaled Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkesian and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele last season, but neither holds their previous assistant position heading into the 2022 campaign.

Texas hired Sarkesian as its head coach, while Auburn moved on from Steele after it fired head coach Gus Malzahn.

Clemson hired Venables in January 2012 after it lost 70-33 to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. The decision has paid off considering the Tigers have won two national championships and reached two more College Football Playoff national championship games since the move.

They are one of the powerhouses of the sport and will keep their notable defensive coordinator in place even though there were some headlines about him potentially becoming the head coach at Auburn.

Frankly, it would be a surprise if Venables doesn't cash in on the playoff bonuses on this new deal. The Tigers have been in the past six College Football Playoffs and are annual national championship contenders thanks in large part to the defenses Venables has helped build.

Under Venables, Clemson has been particularly known for its ability to pressure the quarterback. The Tigers have finished in the top 12 in the country in sacks every year since 2013.

If the defense continues to play like that, the Tigers will remain title contenders throughout this deal.