LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has been named the new coach at Baylor, the program announced Thursday. Aranda has spent the last four seasons with the Tigers and led a defense that shut down Clemson en route to a 42-25 win in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night.
Aranda's defenses have finished in the top 30 in defensive yards per play in each of his four seasons in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers gave up just 394 yards and held Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence to 18 of 37 passing (48.6%) on Monday on the game's biggest stage.
"I'm excited to get started as a Baylor Bear," Aranda said in a statement released by the school. "From the outside looking in, I was so impressed watching Baylor play. Seeing the unity of the team and the togetherness of their play really illustrated a strong culture. After meeting [athletic director] Mack Rhoades, talking with President [Linda] Livingstone and seeing Baylor's alignment from top down you can see why they have been so successful. I'm ready to touch down in Waco and get to work."
Aranda, 43, has plenty of experience in the state of Texas. He received his Master's degree at Texas Tech, served as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech from 1999-2001 and spent two years as the linebackers coach at Houston from 2002-03.
He takes over a program that went 11-1 in the regular season and lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game with a spot in the College Football Playoff within reach. This came just two seasons after the Bears went 1-11 in Matt Rhule's first season at the helm following the Art Briles sexual assault scandal and one season under interim coach Jim Grobe.
"Today is an exciting day for Baylor," Rhoades said in a statement. "Dave is a special person who loves football and his student-athletes, is highly intellectual, and is a great mission fit for both Baylor Athletics and the University at large. Along with demonstrated success on the field, Dave shares in our vision of Preparing Champions for Life and our collective commitment to live by One Standard and in One Accord. We look forward to him carrying those values forward as the next leader of our football program. Join me in welcoming Dave, Dione, Jaelyn, Jordyn and Ronin to Waco."
Baylor has been in search of a head coach since Rhule left to take over the NFL's Carolina Panthers earlier this month. Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente after reportedly interviewing for the job earlier this month. Louisiana's Billy Napier confirmed that he will stay with the Ragin' Cajuns after his name was rumored in connection with the vacancy.
LSU will now be looking to replace both its defensive coordinator and passing game coordinator this offseason with Joe Brady leaving for the offensive coordinator position with the NFL's Carolina Panthers (ironically under Rhule) earlier this week.