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Brent Venables introduced at Clemson as 'grand slam' hire

OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney introduced the former OU defensive coordinator as the Tigers' new defensive coordinator on Friday, saying how coaches like Kevin Sumlin and Mike Gundy had been complimenting him on the hire.
TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, Modified: January 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm •  Published: January 20, 2012

Despite Venables’ eagerness to look elsewhere for another job — West Virginia was in the mix before the Clemson job suddenly opened — he insisted people, and especially reporters, have the wrong idea when it comes to his response to the perceived demotion.

“People that assume that have no idea how I’m wired,” he said.

Venables said his deference to the Stoops family, for their role in starting his career at Kansas State, and his dedication to the team concept were more important than sharing a job title.

“I told Coach Stoops (bringing Mike back) would improve us, make us better,” Venables said, adding the “dynamics” of Mike Stoops’ return were in the works “before the end of the season.”

“This happened obviously well after that,” Venables said. “This was a chance of fate.”

Swinney was at a function Thursday night in Houston, and he said several coaches — Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, Baylor’s Art Briles, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema and Stanford’s David Shaw among them — couldn’t stop complimenting him on his hire.

“We had some great candidates for this job that would have been home runs,” Swinney said Friday, “but Brent is a grand slam. We hit a grand slam.”

It didn’t come up Friday, but Venables said Thursday in a radio interview that he felt like Clemson was a better path to one day becoming a head coach. He had interview for a handful of head coaching jobs while at OU, including Clemson in 2008.

“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,” Bob Stoops said in a statement. “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.”