LSU football put together one of the dominant college football seasons we’ve ever seen. While the offense led the way in 2019-20, Dave Aranda’s defense improved throughout the year, and did a great job against explosive Clemson in the national championship.
Aranda has had his eye on a head coaching job for a while now. Last year, he was involved for the Utah State head coaching job. He previously served as defensive coordinator for the Aggies, before taking the same job at Wisconsin, where his profile really blew up.
This year, he was a candidate for another Mountain West opportunity: UNLV. That ultimately went to Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. That may have been a blessing in disguise for Aranda, as the Baylor job wound up opening late.
Matt Rhule wound up taking the opening with the Carolina Panthers, after his impressive turnaround job with the Bears. Baylor won 11 games this season, reaching the Big 12 Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl. With his late departure, Baylor snapped up Dave Aranda, fresh off of the national title.
This morning, Aranda took out an ad in The Advocate to thank LSU and its fans for the career-changing opportunity there.
Did y'all pick up a copy of the 🗞📰 today? Dave Aranda thanks LSU and its fans in this heartfelt ad 😢🐯
"The opportunity to coach at LSU was everything I dreamed it would be — elite student-athletes, coaches, leadership and support."https://t.co/zHnHubz2Ub
— Tiger on Saturday, Saint on Sunday (@LSUnow) February 2, 2020
Dave Aranda’s full letter to the LSU community:
On behalf of Dione and our children, I want to thank the entire LSU family, the people of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge community for the last four years. You opened your hearts and homes to us and truly made us feel a part of something, for that we will be forever grateful.
The opportunity to coach at LSU was everything I dreamed it would be — elite student-athletes, coaches, leadership and support. I’ll never forget the pride I felt each time I put on the purple and gold; knowing I wasn’t coaching for just a team, a school or community — I was coaching for an entire state. I’m so proud of what we accomplished together and have no doubt that LSU will continue to experience great things under Coach O’s leadership.
Thanks to every student-athlete and coach who gave us their all. Thanks to every administrator and support staff member who put us in a position to succeed at the highest level. Thanks to all LSU Tigers for the many memories that my family and I will carry with us. Thank you for Saturday nights in Death Valley!
LSU has been an experience like none other in my life and it will always be a part of us. Geaux Tigers!
Aranda is one of many departures that LSU has to deal with, both from its roster and coaching staff. Former Nebraska head coach and one-time LSU defensive coordinator is taking over Aranda’s spot.
Ed Orgeron has plenty of contend with after this historic season, but there may not be a coach on more stable ground than he, after delivering the Tigers’ first national title in over a decade.