BATON ROUGE, La. — Top LSU officials anticipated efforts by other college football programs to lure away second-year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and were prepared to respond.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said Thursday that coach Ed Orgeron made it clear he wanted Aranda to remain and was “fully supported” by the administration.
Aranda’s new contract is worth $10 million for four years , making him the first assistant coach in major college football to reach $2 million in average annual salary.
“We were all in full alignment,” Alleva said in a written announcement by LSU. “Once this process began, we were ready to put the plan into action and get this done.”
Full financial details are expected to be made public, as with most state university contracts. That has not happened yet, but a person with direct knowledge of negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity on Wednesday night, confirmed the value of the contract to The Associated Press. The person also said Aranda was being pursued by Texas A&M.
“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.”
LSU’s defense has allowed only 42 touchdowns in the 25 games since Aranda joined the staff under Les Miles in 2016.
The Tigers allowed only 16 TDs in 2016, fewest in the nation.
In 2017, Aranda had to replace five starters who went to the NFL, including first-round picks Jamal Adams and Tre’Davious White, but LSU remained among the top defensive squads in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers ranked fourth in the SEC in points allowed at 18.9 per game and fourth in total yards allowed at 316.2 per game.
Aranda said in LSU’s written announcement that he was “extremely excited” to build on the work of his first two seasons with the Tigers’ defense.
“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,” Aranda said. “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.”