BATON ROUGE – Dave Aranda, widely considered one of the top defensive minds in college football, has been given a contract extension and will remain LSU’s defensive coordinator, head coach Ed Orgeron announced on Thursday.
Aranda, who also serves as LSU’s associate head coach and inside linebackers coach, recently completed his second season with the Tigers, guiding a defense that ranked among the national leaders in total yards allowed per game (316.2) and points per game (18.9).
Orgeron originally announced the Aranda news on Wednesday night with a tweet that read: “I’m very happy to report Dave Aranda has agreed to be with our program for years to come. Thanks to Joe Alleva, Dr. Alexander and the board of supervisors for their support in making this happen. Geaux Tigers.”
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said the administration, university officials and members of the board of supervisors fully anticipated efforts by other schools to hire Aranda and were prepared to retain him.
“When you have someone of Dave’s caliber, you expect it,” said Alleva of the overtures from other schools. “We were prepared and ready. Coach O’s leadership on this was crucial and he was fully supported by the administration, university and board. We were all in full alignment. Once this process began, we were ready to put the plan into action and get this done.”
Under Aranda’s leadership, LSU’s defense has allowed only 42 touchdowns in 25 games, an average of just 1.7 a contest. In 2016, Aranda and the Tigers led the nation in fewest touchdowns allowed with 16.
“We are very happy to have Dave with us,” Orgeron said. “He is one of the best defensive coordinators in football and the way he handles his players and recruits makes us proud that he is a part of the LSU program. He is a great coach and a better man.”
This year, despite losing five starters to the NFL, including two first round draft picks, and relying on as many as six true freshmen to play significant roles, the Tigers were still ranked among the leaders in the Southeastern Conference in pass efficiency defense (No. 2 at 110.0 efficiency), rushing defense (No. 3 at 128.5 yards per game), points allowed (No. 4 at 18.9 points per game) and total defense (No. 4 at 316.2 yards per game).
“I’m extremely excited to work alongside Coach O and our great coaching staff as we continue to build on the foundation that we have started here at LSU,” Aranda said. “There are so many good things going on with our program right now and I’m just happy to be part of the next step in this process.”
“We have a very talented group of players coming back on defense and our signing class is a special group, so I’m very pleased and appreciative of the opportunity to remain an LSU Tiger.”
Aranda’s influence is easy to spot as in just two years, he developed sophomore linebacker Devin White into a second team All-America selection. White led the SEC in tackles this year with 133, while redshirt freshman cornerback Greedy Williams was first in the league in interceptions with six on his way to third team All-America honors. It’s the first time since 1993 that players from the same team led the SEC in tackles and interceptions in the same year.
Alleva said the move to extend Aranda was “of the highest importance” for the football program.
“Coach O made clear Dave was his guy and we made a commitment to keep Dave Aranda a Tiger,” Alleva said. “His work ethic and success on the field is unrivaled. This was an important step for the future of our program.”
The contract extension is pending approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors.