LSU and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda agreed Monday to a new three-year contract, according to the Advocate‘s Ross Dellenger. As a part of the deal, Aranda also accepted the title of associate head coach.
Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman confirmed the extension and added that the deal “is believed to make him the highest-paid coordinator in college football.”
Aranda completed his first regular season with LSU after spending three years with the Wisconsin Badgers. During that span in the Big Ten, Aranda’s defenses were ranked nationally in the top 10 every year.
That didn’t change with his move to LSU, as his defense allowed just 16.4 points per game in the regular season, which ranked seventh in the nation.
But it wasn’t enough to save the program from drama, as LSU fired longtime head coach Les Miles after four games and a 2-2 start.
Interim head coach Ed Orgeron stepped up and led the Tigers to a 5-2 record to finish the season at 7-4, ensuring they remained bowl-eligible.
It helped him get the interim tag dropped, though rumors from Chip Brown of Horns Digest and others were swirling during LSU’s 54-39 win on Thanksgiving over Texas A&M that the program was going to hire former Houston head coach Tom Herman, who is now in charge at Texas.
At his press conference on Nov. 26, Orgeron made it clear that Aranda wasn’t going anywhere, per David Ching of ESPN.com: “We have some great coaches on our staff right now, led by Dave Aranda. He is the best coordinator in football, and we plan on him being with us. I spoke to him this morning. We’re happy that Dave’s an LSU Tiger, I promise you that.”
Retaining Aranda ensured that LSU can focus on finding an offensive coordinator. Orgeron stated that the program is a couple of weeks away from naming one, via Ching.