Locker Room: Save the coffee coupons and he’ll make it

Clemson football coach Dabo Sweeney just signed the richest athletic coaching contract ever. It’s for 10 years and $93-million bucks. They even gave defensive coordinator Brent Venables $2.3 mil a year and two other Tiger assistants make a million each.

Life is good at Clemson where just three years ago it invested $55-million in a new athletic complex. Not a playing field, not a training room, just a complex for the football program where you can sleep, play golf, shoot hoops, watch a movie, have dinner at any of three places, go swimming, get a haircut, play pool, go down a water slide, have a good time, and just relax. Things are good in “Death Valley.” Dabo will get $9.3 million a year. If his wife will cut the coffee coupons out of the local paper they should be on firm financial footing.

Just to be curious who are the other high rollers? 2- Jimbo Fisher- Texas A&M $7.5 million a year, and Jim Harbaugh- Michigan  $7.5 per year, 4- Nick Saban-Alabama 7.4 mil, 5- Gus Malzahn-Auburn $7 mil a year, and Kirby Smart- Georgia $7 mil. Some seem to think Alabama will come after Swinney to take Saban’s place on day. Sweeney tries to discourage such thoughts, but nevertheless in his contract is a clause that his buyout of $2-million doubles if he leaves for Alabama.

How About Hoops:

So, who are the top paid college basketball coaches? It starts real high, but drops a bit quick, but the wives get to go shopping when they want to. The highest paid college basketball coach is Kentucky’s John Calipari at $9.2 million a year. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is second at $7 million a year. Third drops to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo at $4.1 million. Some might be a bit surprised that the number four highest paid coach in hoops is Virginia’s Tony Bennett along with Bill Self at Kansas, and both of them are paid $4.1, but have lesser years than Izzo on the contract. Chris Mack of Louisville is next at $4.0 mil, Roy Williams of North Carolina is a distant 7th at $3.9 mil a year along with West Virginia’s Bob Huggins and Villanova’s Jay Wright. Number 10 is Michigan’s John Belein at $3.8. Some local Virginia Tech fans were curious as to how high Buzz Williams’ next contract ranked at Texas A&M, but let’s just say he’s a bit down the list. Fred Hoiberg, the new coach at mediocre Nebraska is being paid $3.6 million.

NFL Draft Surprises:

Hokie fans may have been a bit surprised when for the first time in 25 years, there were no Tech players taken in the draft. Think that’s a long streak? How about Nebraska? The Cornhuskers did not have a selection for the first time in 56 years! Virginia had two, and Old Dominion also two. West Virginia had five.

Really? $4.6 million?:

It was released this week that the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis paid $4.6 million to install large curtains to block out the daylight on one end of the facility on Final Four Semi-Final Saturday. Since UVa won the national title in basketball on Monday night, that means they paid $4.6 mil to block out the sunlight for one day.

Spring Football:

All the  spring football games are now over, and to call most of them “games” is a stretch. It is certainly a social event at the very least at the “blue blood” programs across the country and a great day usually with the breaking of spring. It is also a day of practice for the football teams.

They like to keep track of the attendance at spring games. Here are the top 10. Oregon had 35,100, nine was Florida with 39,476 in attendance, eight was Oklahoma with 50,228, seven Tennessee with 50,967, six was Georgia with 52,630, five was Clemson with 60,000, four was Penn State with 61,000, third was Ohio State with 61,102, second was Alabama with 62,219, and the top attendance at a spring football game for the second straight year was Nebraska with a whopping 85,946! It was basically a sellout. Tickets were not free. The average cost of a ticket was $31. Multiple that and you have a dandy number for what amounts to a practice session and an afternoon socializing.

Prep Football Update:

It seems to me like there has been more movement in state high school football coaching than normal. There are 25 coaching changes or open jobs even as the current school year nears its end.  The number of changes may surprise you.

Don Holter has replaced Steven Magenbauer at Salem in a surprise retirement. In another surprise Bob Christmas decided to leave Jefferson-Forest and is now the head coach at Amherst. Jeff Highfill has retired at William Byrd. Robert Casto stunned the state when he decided to retire at Riverheads and he has been replaced by Thad Wheeler, the son of former George Wythe head coach and Pulaski county assistant Paul Wheeler.

Other schools needing or hiring new coaches are I.C. Norcom, James River, Fort Chiswell, Centreville, perennial power Oscar Smith, Jefferson-Forest, Staunton River, Tunstall, Broadway, Madison County, Martinsville, Lee High, Buffalo Gap, Gate City, Freeman, Patrick Henry-Ashland, and Culpeper, and I likely missed at least a couple.

By DAN CALLAHAN, The Patriot