The next hire is always the most important for a head football coach, but that is triply true for Baylor’s Dave Aranda. Sources told Dave Campbell’s over the weekend that he was taking over play-calling duties on defense and replacing offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes with someone possessing “head coaching experience” so that Aranda doesn’t need to micromanage the offense while fixing a defense that allowed two touchdowns more in 2023 than it did during the 12-win 2021 season that culminated in a Big 12 and Sugar Bowl championship.
Who are some of the names that fit that criterion? We take a look at more than a handful, including a few with direct ties to Aranda’s coaching past. This list will be constantly updated. Sean Lewis and Seth Littrell took new jobs since the first publication of this story and have been removed.
Matt Wells, Oklahoma offensive analyst: Wells was the offensive coordinator at Utah State in 2012 – the one year that Aranda served as defensive coordinator for the Aggies. Wells went on to follow Gary Anderson as head coach of his alma mater in 2013 and parlayed success there into the Texas Tech head job in 2019. Wells’ 2018 offense ranked third in the nation in scoring at the FBS level. Wells’ offenses at Texas Tech averaged roughly 30 points a year for three seasons. He’s interviewing for the Oregon State head coaching job and might not be on the market as an offensive coordinator. He’s served the last two seasons as an offensive analyst at Oklahoma.
Jake Spavital, Cal offensive coordinator: The former Texas State head coach knows the Lone Star State better than anyone on the list. He was a GA at Houston in 2009, worked at Texas A&M for three seasons, and spent four years in San Marcos as a head coach. He was the offensive coordinator at Cal in 2023. His unit averaged 31.6 points per game – a full touchdown more than the previous year.
Robert Anae, NC State offensive coordinator: The long-time offensive line coach and current offensive coordinator at NC State doesn’t have head coaching experience, but he does have Aranda’s trust. He’s also been around long enough to run an offensive room without micromanaging. Anae was the offensive line coach under Mike Leach at Texas Tech when Aranda was there as a GA. He’s been the offensive coordinator at BYU, Virginia, and Syracuse, as well.
Tim Beck, New Mexico State offensive coordinator: Beck has helped Jerry Kill turn New Mexico State into a Conference USA contender out of nowhere and the quarterback-centric offense is the major reason. Beck spent 2021 as an offensive analyst at TCU so he’s not a stranger to Big 12 football. Before that, he led his alma mater Pittsburg State to a national championship in 2011 and to an 82-35 record in 10 seasons as a head coach.
Nick Rolovich, Seattle Sea Dragons offensive coordinator (XFL: Aranda and Rolovich coached together at Hawaii for multiple years. He became the offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2010, Nevada in 2012, and then returned to the island to become head coach of Hawaii in 2016. He eventually became the head coach at Washington State in 2020. He was fired for failing to comply with Washington’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for state employees.
Chad Morris: The former Texas high school football coach checks every box that Baylor is looking for in its new offensive coordinator. He runs an explosive offense and possesses plenty of head coaching experience. He was the head man at powers such as Stephenville and Lake Travis before serving as an offensive coordinator at Clemson and then as a head coach at SMU and Arkansas. He’s been an analyst for the past two seasons.
Paul Chryst: Currently an offensive analyst at Texas, Chryst was the head coach at Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. He would continue Baylor’s identity as a hard-nosed, run-first offense, but he’s not immune to the vertical passing game and big shots down the field with the right personnel. His style fits the current roster construction more than some of the other names on the list. Aranda was Chryst’s defensive coordinator at Wisconsin in 2015.
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