Home Tony Elliott’s former Clemson cohort signs lucrative long-term extension

Tony Elliott’s former Clemson cohort signs lucrative long-term extension

Chris Graham
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Photo: UVA Athletics

The other former long-time assistant at Clemson just signed a six-year extension after a 10-win season.

That would be Brent Venables, who was the defensive coordinator at Clemson, alongside Tony Elliott, who was the offensive coordinator on the staff of Dabo Swinney, as Clemson won national championships in 2016 and 2018.

Because of that success, both Venables and Elliott had been reported as candidates for high-profile jobs – Venables at Miami, Elliott at Tennessee – before they both decided to leave after the 2021 season.

Venables ended up at Oklahoma, where he replaced Lincoln Riley, who left to take the job at Southern Cal, and after starting his first season, in 2022, ranked in the Top 10 in the preseason, stumbled to a 6-7 finish, with four losses in OU’s last five games.

The 2023 season saw Venables put up a 10-3 record, getting OU back into the Top 10, briefly, after a 7-0 start, ahead of another late-season fade, finishing 3-3 down the stretch.

The news this week with Venables is, six-year extension, at an average of $8.6 million per, as Oklahoma, on July 1, formally makes the move from the Big 12 to the SEC.

The folks out there in Norman know better what their situation is than I do, but outside looking in, it could be a tad bit early to go throwing around that kind of long-term money at a guy who is 16-10 overall and 10-8 in the Big 12, with the strength of schedule about to ratchet up by an order of magnitude.

Anyway, meanwhile, back here in Virginia, we have Elliott, who replaced Bronco Mendenhall, who had taken Virginia to the Orange Bowl in 2019, before being forced out after the 2021 season after back-to-back .500 seasons.

Elliott has put up back-to-back three-win seasons in his first two years.

The modest hope going into Year 3 is that he can get UVA into a 6-6 bowl somewhere up north, where they shouldn’t be playing bowl games in late December, unless there’s an indoor stadium involved.

Maybe Elliott should have held out a little longer for a better situation than an academic school that doesn’t take football all that seriously before finally branching out from Clemson, is what I’m getting at here.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].