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Clemson Announces Hiring Of Brent Venables

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Brent Venables was introduced as the Clemson defensive coordinator Friday afternoon. Brent Venables was introduced as the Clemson defensive coordinator Friday afternoon.
Brent Venables talked to Dean Blevins about the transition from OU to Clemson. Brent Venables talked to Dean Blevins about the transition from OU to Clemson.

Clemson University made the move official Friday with the announcement of the hiring of Brent Venables as the next defensive coordinator for the Tigers.

"We are getting one of the top coordinators in the nation," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. "I appreciate the commitment from the Clemson administration. This hire shows that everyone at Clemson wants us to be the best we can possibly be."

Venables was introduced to Tiger nation at a press conference Friday afternoon. 

Watch Live: Venables Introductory Press Conference

The announcement comes after more than a week's worth of speculation on whether or not he would stay at Oklahoma and be the co-defensive coordinator with Mike Stoops, or if he was departing for another job.

"I just felt like it was time for me to pursue a very unique opportunity," said Brent Venables in an exclusive interview with News 9's Dean Blevins.

01/19/11 Related Story: Exclusive One-On-One With Brent Venables

At his introductory press conference Friday afternoon, Venables said that after visiting Clemson last Sunday he knew what he wanted to do.

"When I left I knew this is what I need to do, what I wanted to do," said Venables.

Swinney added that Tuesday night he knew in his gut that Venables was the right fit.

"He is a great fit for this job," said Swinney in a press release. "In addition to his experience as a coordinator, he has coached the linebackers position for 16 years and produced two Butkus Award winners and two others who were finalists."Venables had been with the Sooners since 1999, serving as a co-defensive coordinators and linebackers coach from 1999-2003, before becoming the sole defensive coordinator in 2004 after Mike Stoops departed to coach at Arizona.

"I was incredibly excited about the opportunity and the thought of him (Mike Stoops) coming back," said Venables. "He is someone I have kept in contact with more than anybody in the coaching profession. I trust him like a brother and know him as good as anybody. He is as transparent as it gets and just wants to win."

"I really believe that us together, we really would have supported each other and helped each other the right ways and so I was really looking forward to that. This decision has zero to do with that dynamic," added Venables. "Our personal and professional relationship are incredibly strong."

In the end, the dollar amount of Venables new agreement isn't much different than what he would get at Oklahoma.

According to Travis Sawchik of the Charleston Post & Courier, Venables is now the third-highest-paid assistant in the country with his new contract deal is believed to be worth $800,000 a year.

"Coach Stoops and Joe (Castiglione) and President Boren left no stone unturned in that way," said Venables.

"I am very, very happy in Norman, but being here 13 years you have a lot of time to reflect and I just felt like it was time for me to pursue a very unique opportunity," said Venables.

"Coach Venables has the experience of coaching in four National Championship games. He has had to compete against the best offenses in the nation over a long period of time. His resume speaks for itself, but it is certainly impressive that he has coached in eight BCS Bowls, four National Championship games and been a part of seven Big 12 Conference Championship coaching staffs," said Swinney.

"I can promise you this, Oklahoma has been a lot better to me and good to me than I have for it," said Venables. "At the end of the day I have been a better man, better person, better coach with my experience here working for the best guy in college football--the best person, best coach in Coach (Bob) Stoops.

Bob Stoops released a statement Friday expressing his gratitude to Venables for his effort on the field and wish him nothing but success in the future.

"I want to thank Brent Venables for his 13 years of service to the Oklahoma football program," said Stoops. "He was a key component in winning a national championship, seven conference championships and many other milestones. We hate saying goodbye to such a close colleague and friend, but if we truly are close colleagues and friends, we want what is best for him. He has determined that his career goals might be better met in new surroundings. We can be nothing but supportive to someone who has been so loyal and supportive of us. We wish Brent and Julie and their family great success, but more importantly we wish them happiness and fulfillment."

The 41-year-old coach is faced with the task of rebuilding the Clemson defense. Last season it ranked 71st in the nation in total defense, allowing 394.36 yards per game and 52 touchdowns.

"I am excited to see his impact on our players and can't wait for the beginning of spring practice," said Swinney.

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