CLEMSON -- At a press conference Tuesday, Athletic Director Terry Don Phillips officially announced a three-year extension to Tommy Bowden’s contract, running it through the year 2010. The announcement came a day after Tommy Bowden was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, the second time he has received the honor in only a five-year tenure. The contract does not affect the annual salary Bowden will receive, as it will remain at $1.1 million per year with the opportunity to earn $1.4 million after bonuses.
Both parties agreed to buyout provisions that would be the same for Bowden and Clemson University and could be as much as $4 million. Wondering aloud whether or not such an arrangement currently exists in the college coaching ranks, Bowden chuckled, “I don’t think so and I’ve researched that part.”
Phillips was appreciative of Bowden’s attitude towards the buyout obligations and readiness to further a commitment to Clemson. “I tell you what was very gratifying, Coach Bowden said ‘I want to be at Clemson, and I’ll do the very same for Clemson University that they do for me and my family.' That’s a strong, strong statement,” Phillips said.
Phillips voiced extreme pleasure in the “resiliency and character” of Bowden, his staff and his players. “Most assuredly you look at how the leader of the program represents the university with regards to character and integrity,” Phillips said. “Certainly I just mentioned being named ACC Coach of the Year, which is the second time in five years, which is just a tremendous accomplishment.”
The most exciting aspect of the football team to Phillips, however, is the future. “What is exciting though is what we have coming back. We have 16 underclassmen starters. We should have 57 returning lettermen for next year, so we have a very bright future,” Phillips stated. “We wanted to make a statement, a very clear and unequivocal statement of how we feel about Coach Bowden and the job he has done here.”
Regarding the financial components of this development, Phillips expressed appreciation of the effort and willingness of Bowden to remain at Clemson University. “He did not ask for one nickel to improve his annual compensation,” Phillips said. “We are very proud to have the opportunity to work with Coach Bowden.”
Bowden himself was unabashed in expressing his strong feelings for Clemson at the press conference, stating that it had been his plan to coach the rest of his career at Clemson and someday retire there. “For you that were here at my first press conference, know how I feel about Clemson. It’s a place that I eyeballed early in my coaching career. I had determined at that point and time that this is a job I’d like to stay at and retire,” Bowden said. “I think every action I’ve taken the last five years has pretty much backed that statement up.”
According to Bowden, the most important facet of these contractual developments is how it will ultimately translate into success on the football field. In a statement released before the press conference, Bowden claimed that the often talked about differences over a potential pay raise was a non-issue because it did not affect recruiting. “The compensation level of the contract does not have an impact on recruiting, so I did not seek additional salary, but the length of the contract can have a significant impact.”
Coach Bowden continuously reiterated the importance of recruiting in his profession, and expressed confidence in the prospect of his team becoming a major national contender through recruiting victories. “We are literally an interception, a sack, a catch, a punt return, a tackle from a BCS bowl game,” Bowden said.
The official announcement brings to an end a long series of events that has intrigued the Clemson fan base for weeks now. After an embarrassing 45-17 blowout at the hands of Wake Forest, Bowden’s job was seen by many to be in jeopardy. Even after a stunning upset of then #3 Florida State, questions still arose regarding his job security. An emotional Bowden press conference only fueled the rumors. Phillips attempted to put to rest any questions this afternoon. “We want Coach Bowden at Clemson,” Phillips said.
Bowden himself answered the question of whether or not he wanted to stay at Clemson University today. “This is a place I’d like to stay,” Bowden said.