Four more years, increased buyout unjustified for Bowden

By Marc Hudgens  |   Friday, December 07, 2007  |  Comments( 26 )

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All respectable employers give their employees an annual performance review. Based on how well you've done your job, a raise may be awarded depending on whether you've reached an established goal. If it is, the amount is then determined by the performance of the previous year.

The keyword in that phrase is "performance," and it apparently doesn't apply at Clemson.

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was recently awarded a new contract after threatening to leave for Arkansas. The outcome was a significant raise, increased buyout and four additional years (he already had three) on his contract.

The guaranteed compensation bump is understandable, as Bowden went from $1.3 million to about $1.75 million. Although his conference record hasn't been better than 5-3 since 2000, Bowden did win nine games last year, and he's preparing to coach in his most prestigious bowl game in four years. It would be laughable to even consider firing the guy after this past season.

But what makes no sense is a four-year extension on top of the three he already had left and a buyout that went from $2.5 million to a reported $4 million. The only meaningful difference between last season and this year is a win over instate rival South Carolina, a program Clemson has owned so much over its history that it lacks the feel of a true rivalry anymore.

Certainly this new deal would be understandable if Clemson had beaten Boston College this season, thereby winning the ACC's Atlantic Division and earning a shot at the conference crown. But the fact is the team failed to achieve that reachable goal once again. So, exactly what tangible progress has transpired to justify the extra term and buyout?

In short, nothing.

Tigers athletic director Terry Don Phillips already had egg on his face after granting a bigger-than-warranted extension in 2003, considering the Tigers completely flopped the next year. Now he's done it once again, arguably outdoing himself from last time.

The $1.75 million guaranteed probably is warranted, but the buyout should have remained at $2.5 million, and only one more year should have been tacked on. That's all the results called for.

Maybe Phillips and Bowden knew there were no other head coaching options out there, which is why Phillips caved. The pool is definitely shallower than it was last year, especially considering Les Miles, Butch Davis and Tommy Tuberville rebuffed other offers and stayed put at their respective schools. So if Bowden would've left, the only logical thing to do was to promote from within. That wouldn't necessarily be bad; after all, when Charley Pell bolted for Florida at the last minute in 1978, Clemson immediately promoted from within and three years later won the national championship under Danny Ford. Every Tigers fan thought the program was dead in the water when Pell left. Sometimes promoting works, but it is a roll of the dice in this day and age.

During the press conference, Bowden and Phillips restated their ACC and national title goals. Clemson has had those goals firmly in place for years but never accomplished them, so nothing is new. Although Bowden has done wonders in facilities, recruiting, academics and all the other peripherals, the ultimate goal still remains elusive.

It seems his package was bumped up not because of performance, but because of his peers. He simply wasn't making as much as Frank Beamer, Davis and his father, Bobby -- each of whom happened to win at least one conference title since 1999.
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About Marc Hudgens

Marc Hudgens has been with RealFootball365 since 2007, covering college football, specifically Clemson and Oregon. He also writes for covering the ACC. He enjoys the acidic wit of Hunter S. Thompson, is a freelance graphic designer and has written several screenplays. He...
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CommentsComments: 26  |  Sign Up  View all comments
jerry a marullo
02:43 PM
Pool is definitely shallow? Are you kidding me? For the right amount of money,(and a membership to Augusta National)anyone can be...
12:26 AM
Wow, so what you are saying is that one play against BC wouldl have justified the incurease buy=out? Not what the team did this...
Chris Rowland
04:24 AM
First things first. TB did not "threaten" to go to Arkansas. There was never even an "official" offer. Also, there was...
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