Brent Venables, Clemson Defensive Coordinator: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

brent venables, defensive coordinator, salary, wife, family Getty

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables with his own "get back" coach.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has helped transform the Tigers defense into a perennial power. Venables is considered one of the best coordinators in the country, and is instantly linked to head coaching positions as soon as they open. The energetic coach requires his own assistant to keep him on the sideline during games to avoid penalties.

Venables tries to balance his passion for his job with his love for his family. His wife Julie Venables understands the demands of the job, and even suggested he watch one of their child’s birth via Skype. Sports Illustrated details the birth of their fourth child in 2009.

The intensity runs in the family, as he witnessed the birth of his fourth child via Skype in 2009 because his wife, Julie, didn’t want him to return to Oklahoma from El Paso, Texas, where the Sooners were preparing for the Sun Bowl. ‘Growing up, I was like, ‘Who misses their child’s birth?’ Venables says. ‘That’s something you just don’t do. There I was, I was that guy.’

Learn more about the Clemson defensive coordinator.


1. Venables Has Turned Down Head Coaching Jobs to Stay at Clemson as Defensive Coordinator

brent venables, clemson defensive coordinator, salary, family, wife

GettyBrent Venables has had plenty of offers to leave Clemson.

Venables name is often linked with college football head coaching vacancies, but so far Venables has remained at Clemson. Dabo Swinney explained to CBS Sports that Venables would be a great head coach, but he is picky about what opportunity he chooses.

I think he’d be a great head coach. I know he’s had opportunities to be head coach. I just don’t think the right opportunity has come along that he’s wanted for whatever reason.

Venables was most recently linked to the Arkansas opening, and admitted his representative had contact with the school. In an interview with Arkansas sports radio host Bo Mattingly, Venables explained why he has remained at Clemson.

I’ve had opportunities to be a head coach throughout my career and as recently as last week, but my moral compass has told me to be loyal to where I am.

Given his ties to Kansas State, fans can expect Venables name to be attached to coaching rumors whenever Bill Snyder retires. Based on his decision process so far, there is no guarantee Venables would take the position if he was offered to take over the program in Manhattan.


2. Venables Played at Kansas State & Won a Championship at Oklahoma as a Coordinator Under Bob Stoops

Dabo Swinney has joked Venables would suit up on Saturdays if he could, but the Clemson defensive coordinator did just that in the 1990’s. According to Sports Illustrated, Venables was not offered a scholarship coming out of Salina High School South, and started his college career at Garden City Community College.

Thanks to his play at Garden City, he received an offer to walk-on at Kansas State. Venables eventually earned a scholarship with the Wildcats, and had 124 tackles in 1992 which earned him Honorable Mention for the All-Big Eight team.

Venables spent more than a decade as a coordinator at Oklahoma. According to Clemson Athletics, Venables won a championship in 2000 as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in Norman. Venables served as the Oklahoma defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2011 prior to taking the Clemson position.


3. His Son Jake Venables Will Play at Clemson During the 2018 Season

Venables’ job is about to get even more fufilling as his son Jake Venables has committed to play at Clemson. According to 247 Sports, Jake Venables is a four-star linebacker (2018 class) who also had offers from LSU, Texas Tech, Northwestern and SMU. In December 2016, he took to Twitter on his father’s birthday to announce his commitment to Clemson.

According to the Clemson Insider, Clemson also recently gave Venables youngest son, Tyler Venables, an offer as well. Tyler Venables is part of the 2020 class. Venables is a highly sought after coordinator, and it can’t hurt his chances to stay long-term to have his son playing at Clemson.


4. Venables Makes $1.7 Million, Making Him One of the Highest Paid Coordinators in the Country

Venables was one of several Clemson coaches to receive a raise after the Tigers 2016 championship run. According to the Clemson Insider, Venables received a $270,000 raise to bring his salary up to $1.7 million. According to USA Today, Venables is the second highest paid coordinator in college football, as LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is the only assistant coach who makes more than Venables.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney makes $8.5 million a year, second only to Alabama’s Nick Saban. Given Swinney’s high salary, it makes sense Clemson’s coaching staff is one of the highest paid in the country.


5. Venables Has His Own “Get Back” Coach, Adam Smotherman, Who Makes Sure He Stays on the Sideline During Games

According to ESPN, Dabo Swinney assigned Venables his own personal “get back” coach during a 2014 game against Georgia. The officials warned Swinney about his defensive coordinator coming onto the field, something that can be penalized during a game. Since then, Smotherman follows Venables around during games to ensure he does not go onto the field.

“You got to keep yourself in shape,” Smotherman jokingly told ESPN. “You got to know your opponent. He’s strong. He’s wiry, very twitched up. It’s kind of a cat and mouse game.”

Chasing Venables around the sideline is not Smotherman’s only role at Clemson. Smotherman’s official title is Clemson’s assistant strength and conditioning coach, a role he has had for five years.

Things can get heated on the sideline if Venables takes exception to being pulled back during a game. This is one of several clips showing Venables getting frustrated with Smotherman.

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