Brent Venables, a coordinator for the University of Oklahoma defense over the last 13 seasons, has been named defensive coordinator at Clemson University. The announcement was made Friday by Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
AUDIO: Dabo Swinney introduces new DC Brent Venables
Venables, 41 and a 1993 Kansas State graduate, has been a full-time defensive coach at the FBS level the last 16 years. All 16 years the teams have played in a bowl game, including eight in BCS Bowls. Four of those bowl games have been for the National Championship.
Those 16 teams have an overall record of 170-40 for a .810 winning percentage, including a 111-25 record in conference play, a .816 winning percentage. Thirteen of the 16 teams he has coached have finished in the final top 20 of both polls, including 10 times in the final top 10.
Venables was co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2000 when Oklahoma posted a 13-0 record and won the National Championship with a 13-2 victory over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
“We are getting one of the top coordinators in the nation,” said 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.
“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.
“He is a great fit for this job. 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.
“I am excited to see his impact on our players and can’t wait for the beginning of spring practice.”
In his 16 years as a defensive coach, the teams he has guided have ranked in the top 20 in the nation in total defense 11 times, the top 20 in scoring defense 12 times, the top 20 in pass efficiency defense 10 times and the top 20 in rush defense 10 times. That includes seven top 10 rankings in total defense and scoring defense, and nine top 10s in pass efficiency defense.
During his 13 years with the Oklahoma program the Sooners finished in the final top 10 of both polls eight times, including as recently as 2010 when Oklahoma posted a 12-2 record and defeated UCONN in the Fiesta Bowl and finished sixth.
Oklahoma has played in more BCS National Championship games (4) than any other program and played in the second most BCS Bowl games (8) behind Ohio State (9). Venables has coached in all of those bowl games for the Sooners.
Oklahoma won seven Big 12 Championships during Venables tenure, including every even numbered year from 2000 to 2010. Five of the seven Oklahoma Big 12 Championship teams in that time period had a top 20 scoring defense. In seven Big 12 championship game victories, Oklahoma allowed just 14.1 points per game.
Oklahoma had a 139-34 overall record during Venables time with the program, a .803 winning percentage. That included a 90-22 mark in Big 12 Conference play, a .804 winning percentage. The Sooners won at least 10 games in 10 of those 13 years and averaged 10.7 wins per season.
In 2011, Venables helped the Sooners to a 10-3 record and number-16 final national ranking in both polls. His defense led the Big 12 in scoring defense, the fifth time in his 16 years in the Big 12 he had been on a staff that won the Big 12 scoring defense title. The Sooners ranked second in the Big 12 in total defense and had 40 sacks, second best in the league.
Venables defenses featured an attacking style at Oklahoma. The Sooners ranked eighth in the nation in sacks and 12th in tackles for loss in 2011. The 2011 defense also ranked fifth in the nation in third down defense (.303) and was tied for 14th nationally in red-zone defense.
That was the fourth straight year Oklahoma ranked in the top 10 in the nation in sacks and the fifth straight year they ranked in the top 20 in tackles for loss. Since 2005, five of his defenses have ranked in the top 10 in the nation in sacks.
In 2006, Venables was named a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in the nation. That year as defensive coordinator he helped the Sooners to the Big 12 Championship by coordinating a defense that ranked second in the nation in rush defense, sixth in takeaways, 13th in pass efficiency defense, 16th in total defense and 19th in scoring defense.
The native of Salina, Kansas has helped the careers of many outstanding players at Oklahoma. Twelve of his linebackers have been NFL draft picks. Linebackers under his direction have been named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year five times and Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year five times. He has coached two Butkus Award winners, two other Butkus Award finalists, and a Bednarik Award winner.
Prior to coming to Oklahoma, Venables helped Kansas State to a 31-6 record in his three years with the program (1996-98). That included a 21-3 mark in Big 12 Conference play. Kansas State won the Big 12 North with an 8-0 record his final year.
Kansas State was 11-1 overall and beat Syracuse in the Fiesta Bowl to finish with a number-seven national ranking by USA Today in 1997. That year Kansas State ranked fourth in the nation in total defense, fifth in pass efficiency defense and sixth in scoring defense. Kansas State ranked in the top 10 in the nation in pass efficiency defense, in the top 11 in scoring defense, and in the top 20 in total defense all three years he was in Manhattan.
Venables was an outstanding player at Kansas State in 1991 and 1992. As a senior he was an honorable mention All-Big Eight linebacker with 124 tackles, second on the team, including a team best 68 unassisted tackles.
Venables and his wife Julie have four children, sons Jake and Tyler, and daughters Laney and Addie.