Aranda here to stay, finalizes extension through 2029

Baylor University and head football coach Dave Aranda finalize contract extension through 2029 following a record-breaking season for the Bears. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

After leading Baylor football to its winningest season in program history, head coach Dave Aranda is here for the long haul. After a few months of speculation as to when it would happen, Baylor and Aranda announced they finalized a contract extension Tuesday that runs through 2029. However, since Baylor is a private institution the specific contract terms are not disclosed.

“Baylor University is extremely pleased to make a long-term commitment to coach Dave Aranda. He is truly one of the brightest minds in college football,” President Linda Livingstone said. “Coming off the most successful football season in Baylor history, we believe he has our football program and our student-athletes poised for ongoing development and sustained success. We appreciate how coach Aranda represents Baylor, and his sincere commitment to our Christian mission and our student-athletes is evident in all that he does.”

Following a rough 2-7 season filled with numerous obstacles in his first season at the helm, Aranda made some coaching changes in the offseason. Part of the changes involved the acquisition of offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and offensive line coach Eric Mateos from Brigham Young University. Aranda also utilized the transfer portal, bringing in veterans such as sixth-year senior wide receiver Drew Estrada, senior offensive lineman Jacob Gall and sophomore defensive tackle Siaki Ika, each of whom immediately impacted the program and made big contributions.

Those changes led to Baylor winning the 2021 Big 12 Championship and 2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl while finishing with a 12-2 record, the most wins in a single season in program history. At the conclusion of the season, Aranda was named the 2021 George Munger Coach of the Year as well as Big 12 Coach of the Year by the Associated Press. Aranda also finished as a finalist for the Bear Bryant Award, Dodd Trophy and Eddie Robinson Award. However, Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said it’s not just what Aranda does on the field that led to the extension, but what he does off the field as well.

“I am incredibly grateful for Dave’s outstanding leadership of our football program and student-athletes through his commitment to ‘Preparing Champions for Life,'” Rhoades said. “Dave has brought unprecedented success to our football program both on and off the field. He has brought tremendous national exposure and acclaim to our institution and the greater Waco community. We look forward to the future with Dave, his wife, Dione and their children and the continued growth of our football program, student-athletes and fan support under his exceptional leadership. Dave is, without question, one of the most brilliant minds in college football across the country.”

Off the field, Aranda has had 51 academic All-Big 12 selections in his first two seasons at Baylor, which is the most in program history. On the field, Baylor has received 10 All-American honors from the five publications which make up the NCAA’s consensus teams and 11 All-Big 12 selections under Aranda. Of those 11 All-Big 12 selections, five were individual award winners: senior safety Jalen Pitre (2021 Defensive Player of the Year), fifth-year senior running back Trestan Ebner (2020 and 2021 Special Teams Player of the Year), Galvin (2021 Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Ika (2021 Defensive Newcomer of the Year).

Aranda’s contract will be formally ratified by the Baylor Board of Regents at its next meeting. Aranda will look to continue the success of the program when the 2022 season kicks off against the University at Albany on Sept. 3 at McLane Stadium.

“My family and I are truly appreciative of the tremendous support we have received from Mack, President Livingstone and the entire Waco community,” Aranda said. “We are both incredibly grateful and proud to call Baylor our home. I look forward to continuing the work we’ve started on and off the field in the years to come.”