Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney have brought great success to their respective football programs—seven national titles between them—and they are compensated handsomely for their achievements. But it is their contributions in marketing and branding their institutions nationally which is so remarkable.
At Alabama, undergraduate student enrollment, both in-state and out-of-state, has dramatically increased during Saban’s 12-year tenure growing from 25,580 to 38,395 students. Out-of-state students, who now pay $30,000 a year in tuition, comprise 60% of the student body compared to 40% when Saban arrived. The increase in undergraduate student enrollment, particularly for out-of-state students, coupled with tuition increases for all students, has resulted in over $300 million in additional tuition income per year for Alabama. That is real money for any university.
It is also easy to see the economic impact Swinney has had on Clemson and its community over the years. Undergraduate applications, particularly those from out-of-state, have increased from 12,460 to 28,845 during Swinney’s 14-year tenure, a 130% increase, which has also translated into more revenue and prestige for Clemson. Even average real estate home prices have felt the Swinney impact, increasing by nearly 10% the year after Clemson won its first national championship in 2016.
Certainly, there are other factors at work, including presidential and board leadership, which have contributed to the growth of these institutions and their communities, but it is undeniable that the Saban and Swinney effect and the impact of winning football programs have been a major factor in the ascendancy of these two great schools.