FLORENCE, S.C. – There’s no doubt Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney’s 10-year, $93 million contract grabbed all of the top headlines as the richest deal in college football history.
But there was another significant extension the Clemson Board of Trustees Compensation Committee granted at the same time in the wake of perhaps the second-most successful campaign at the school this past season.
Clemson women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler was given a $50,000 raise and a new five-year contract after guiding the Tigers to an improbable turnaround season.
“I love being a Clemson Tiger, I really do,” Butler said Thursday at the Florence Prowl & Growl event at the Florence Center. “When you have dreams of doing really good things – that has to be a shared vision with leadership. So having a leader like (athletic director) Dan (Radakovich) and the board of trustees having the faith in me to lead and express it in that way is something I’m really, really grateful for.
“It’s just exciting to continue the journey and see where we go from here and keep growing together.”
The Tigers grew a lot in their first season under Butler. She led Clemson to its best season in more than a decade with a 20-13 overall record that included the program’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2002. It was also the first 20-win season for the Tigers since 2001.
The biggest improvement came in ACC play. Butler guided her team to a 9-7 conference record – the most wins for the Tigers since 2002. The program had won just five ACC contests combined during the four previous seasons.
For her efforts, Butler was recognized as the ACC Coach of the Year.
“It’s always nice to get some attention when things are going well,” Butler said. “The thing that’s most exciting to me is our future at Clemson. It’s nice to have a leader like Dan who wants to express his support in the form of a contract.
“Hugs and high-fives are nice as well, we get a lot of those, but contracts and that type of security and demonstration of how important women’s basketball is at Clemson is powerful.”
The success and security is also likely to have an impact on the recruiting trail as the Tigers look to build on their success. While most outsiders might think they’re “ahead of schedule,” Butler said she sees it simply as following a winning formula that was proven to work this past season.
“I think when you are able to make a statement as a program like making an appearance in the NCAA tournament and winning a game – showing up and winning games in our league – I think it’s just a really strong demonstration to future players and student-athletes that … this is a place where you can win championships,” Butler said.
“It’s definitely a message I think is resonating around the country with some of the best young players.”