Dave Aranda has been one of the hottest names on the defensive side of the ball for a few years now. But just a few short years ago he was out of a job after an impressive season as the defensive coordinator at Hawaii after his unit led the country in turnovers forced.
Aranda told The Advocate that being fired in Hawaii is probably the hardest program to be fired at.
“It’s hard to be fired in Hawaii. It’s probably the hardest place to get fired, the time change. I think people kind of forget you’re up there.”
But following the 2011 season, Aranda was doing what so many coaches find themselves doing this time of year – waiting by his phone and looking for a job…any job.
“I’ve never been one to work the phones or call. I’ve never done that anyways,” Aranda explained. “You’re basically kind of sitting around and no one calling.”
“I remember my wife didn’t work and my kids really. School is out. We’re all hanging around the little apartment. I just get up, because there’s nothing else to do in this little tiny apartment, and I just make coffee the whole day. Just something to do. It’s a bad deal.”
Then, heading into the 2012 season, Gary Andersen found himself in need of a defensive coordinator at Utah State and Aranda’s accomplishments at Hawaii, coupled with his track record as an assistant and a recruiter, caught his attention. So he picked up the phone and called Aranda with an opportunity.
“Once you get the call, man, you almost break down because you don’t know what you’re going to do. When you’re on that side of it, it teaches you whenever opportunities come to pay much attention to it and be filled with it because there are times you ain’t going to have opportunities.”
Now, a few short years after that opportunity at Utah State, which then led to the defensive coordinator position at Wisconsin under Andersen and then Paul Chyrst, Aranda now has an opportunity to lead a program with a rich defensive history in LSU, who return some legit ballers on defense in 2016.