One of the most sought-after coaches finally caved and took a head coaching job. Brent Venables signed a contract with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2021, and he made history in the process. We take a look at some of the details of that agreement.
Brent Venables’ Salary and Contract in 2023
For a while, few people thought Brent Venables would ever take a contract with another team. His loyalty to the Clemson Tigers provided them stability for many years, but he finally made Dabo Swinney look for a replacement for the first time since 2011.
At Clemson, Venables became the highest-paid assistant coach in the country at $2.5 million. It’s hard to blame Swinney and Clemson for doing that, given that Clemson regularly produced one of the best and most disruptive defenses in college football.
Venables coached some of the best defenders in college football in Death Valley. Names like Dexter Lawrence, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Carlos Watkins, and many more became household names in the college football world thanks to Venables. So, it was easy to see why teams wanted him to take over as head coach.
Oklahoma finally got him to bite — and made history in the process. Venables is a coach you make a strong pitch to, and the Sooners offered him a six-year, $43.5 million, fully guaranteed contract.
At $7.25 million, it was the largest contract ever offered to a first-year head coach, and it runs through 2028. For comparison, Lincoln Riley made $3.1 million in his first year as the head coach in Norman.
Venables receives an annual raise of $100,000 every year of the contract. His base salary sits at just $375,000, but gets over $6 million in personal services compensation. He also receives bonuses for certain achievements:
- Participation in a non-College Football Playoff bowl game: $25,000
- Participation in a New Year’s Six bowl outside of a CFP semifinal: $100,000
- Semifinal game appearance: $250,000
- National Championship Game appearance: $50,000
- Win a national championship: $400,000
- Win National Coach of the Year: $75,000
- Win Conference Coach of the Year: $35,000
With Oklahoma heading to the SEC in 2024, getting Venables under contract heading into their new conference.
Venables’ Net Worth
Venables is a great defensive mind, but his worth as a head coach only goes as far as his support staff. Oklahoma made sure his assistants were compensated fairly to help their head coach.
One of the biggest hires Venables made was adding Jeff Lebby as his offensive coordinator. He signed a three-year deal worth $5.7 million, which includes a $100,000 raise every year just like Venables.
Venables added a number of other staff members, their salaries are listed here:
- Ted Roof, defensive coordinator: $1.5 million
- Todd Bates, defensive line coach: $665,000
- Jay Valai, cornerbacks coach: $700,000
- Migues Chavis, defensive ends coach: $600,000
- Brandon Hall, safeties coach: $350,000
- DeMarco Murray, running backs coach: $500,000
- Bill Bedenbaugh, offensive line coach: $820,000
- Joe Jon Finley, tight ends coach: $520,000
- Emmett Jones, wide receivers coach: $550,000
A perk of the job at Oklahoma that’s super underrated is the deal with the Jordan brand. Venables didn’t wear any fancy footwear when he was with the Clemson Tigers, but it appears that he’s embraced the style of his new school.
He still wears traditional trainers and runners, but occasionally he slips on an Air Jordan shoe to coach a game. For reference, Oklahoma’s Air Jordan 4 PE goes for $7,000 on StockX, so there’s some value in the shoes that Venables will get seeded in Norman.