Dave Aranda was a hot commodity in the coaching carousel after taking the Baylor Bears to the Big 12 Championship this past season and then a Sugar Bowl victory. This came after Aranda’s first season in 2020, which disappointed with a 2-7 record after taking over for Matt Rhule.
Many talking heads assumed that Aranda would be more than interested in jumping to a bigger job, like in the SEC for a place like LSU, where he was the defensive coordinator and helped win a National Championship, or somewhere like Florida.
But ultimately, Aranda stayed at Baylor and signed an extension. For Baylor fans and those of us who follow and cover Baylor, we knew that Aranda had a unique relationship with Baylor and was not one of those coaches wired to jump at the next-best job.
Well we got a little more insight into the “Why?” of Aranda’s decision in a conversation with 247Sports.
Aranda explained why he decided to sign with Baylor through 2029, telling Chris Hummer, “I’m very appreciative of (athletic director) Mack Rhoades and (president) Linda Livingstone. Great people to work for, great friends – people I’d say are my friend. Coming to Baylor I was part machine really at other spots. Just all football. I think I talk more in a day now than I would at a week at LSU, for example, and parts of myself just kind of became closed off to people and only come alive when it was ball. I could see my kids seeing how I was and thinking that was OK. And they’ve got some of the stuff in their blood, too, so I could see them sort of becoming miniature mes, which would suck, I think. Now they’re not experiencing life really. Some of it with me with football was the pressures of all of it and me trying to hardcore scientist the things you could control and try to avoid pain.
“The ability to come to Baylor was to change, to grow and to become a full person. Going from your head to your heart is the longest road. I feel like Baylor is a fit for that, and I think I learn more than I teach here. I’m happy to be here.”
That answer is what makes Dave Aranda different. Who else answers a question about staying with a football program by mentioning his children viewing his own personal growth? Incredible stuff.
Aranda finalized the deal in February and certainly seems very committed to the Bears for the next several years. And the timing could not be better with the changes coming to the Big 12 and the college football landscape.
Under Aranda, Baylor has also received 10 All-America honors from the five publications with cornerback Jalen Pitre leading the way.
Aranda and the Bears begin their defense of their Big 12 Championship by opening up the 2022 season by hosting Albany on Saturday, Sept. 3.