Aranda first Baylor football coach to win debut in over 25 years

Baylor head coach Dave Aranda lets out a yell during a defensive play against Kansas in the first half of the Bears' 47-14 win against the Jayhawks. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, pool)

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

The Dave Aranda-era of Baylor football started off on the right foot, as Baylor football won its season opener against Kansas 47-14 Saturday night at McLane Stadium.

Aranda is the first Baylor head coach to win their debut since Chuck Reddy in 1993, ending a 27-year drought.

In the post-game press conference, Aranda could be described in two words: thankful and proud.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to thank everybody that went into us playing this game,” Aranda said. “The opportunity to just do it and play and be a team on the grass and face adversity and respond the right way; I’m proud of that. I’m proud of how we played that second half.”

Players gave Aranda the game ball after their victory as a way to celebrate Aranda’s first victory as a head coach.

“It means a lot. To be part of the team, I just feel I belong here,” Aranda said. “I feel just a really strong brotherhood here. There are people that care past the player or coach part to the person part. To be a part of that is special.”

Junior linebacker Terrel Bernard said that it was special to help get Aranda his first win as a collegiate head coach.

“It was great, after the game, seeing how happy he was,” Bernard said. “He doesn’t really show too much emotion, high or low, so seeing how happy he was was really a big thing.”

Senior running back John Lovett echoed Bernard’s sentiment, saying that it felt “really good.”

“Coach Aranda took a big step, being a head coach for the first time in his life,” Lovett said. “He’s been there every step of the way with our team, so that felt really good for us to get that first win under his belt.”

Aranda’s highly touted defensive scheme was on full display Saturday night, only allowing the Jayhawks to reach the endzone twice while forcing a safety and sacking the quarterback four times.

Bernard said that Aranda brought a “positive energy” to the Baylor sideline, even after Kansas scored on their opening drive.

“Throughout the game, he was telling us ‘keep going, put your foot on the gas, don’t let up,’” Bernard said.

Despite it being a monumental moment in his coach career, Aranda said he was ready to move on and start preparing for the game against West Virginia.

“It’ll be nice to be able to relax a little bit tonight, but it’ll be quick tomorrow,” Aranda said regarding the fast turnaround. “I’m looking forward to that part of it and I know our guys are too.”

Aranda will search for his second head coaching win as Baylor will play West Virginia at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va. The game will be televised on ABC.