When it was revealed that Dave Aranda would likely remain at LSU when Ed Orgeron was named the permanent head coach, it was thought the defensive coordinator could become the highest-paid assistant in college football. Wednesday, that became a reality.
LSU announced earlier today that Aranda has signed a new three-year contract that runs through March of 2020 and includes the additional title of associate head coach. The deal will also be worth total of $5.5 million — $1.8 million in 2017, with bumps to $1.85 million and $1.9 million the last two years of the deal.
“My family loves Baton Rouge. We are excited to build on what we’ve started. LSU is a special place,” Aranda said in a statement. “Our outstanding student-athletes, the passion of our fans, the first class facilities and the commitment to excellence from the administration makes LSU one of the premier programs in college football and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
The deal still needs the approval of LSU’s Board of Supervisors, although that’s expected to be a mere formality.
The $1.8 million will, at least at the moment, make Aranda the highest-paid assistant coach in the history of college football, trumping the $1,6 million Will Muschamp pulled in as the defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2015. The highest-paid assistants in 2016 were Texas A&M DC John Chavis ($1.56 million), Clemson DC and Broyles Award winner Brent Venables ($1.43 million) and Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin ($1.4 million). Aranda was fourth at $1.315 million per the USA Today salary database.
At the end of the regular season, Aranda’s Tiger defense was sixth nationally in scoring (16.4 points per game) and 13th in total defense (323.0 yards per game). The former was second in the SEC behind Alabama, the latter third behind ‘Bama and Florida in the conference.
The leader of the Tide defense, Jeremy Pruitt, was 12th in the country in pay at $1 million and will likely be in line for a raise at season’s end.
You can add Marshall and East Carolina to the list of upcoming ‘Week 0’ games for the 2020 season after the two schools announced a date change for their matchup this year.
While television played a small role in the shift, the two programs sought an NCAA waiver to play on Saturday, August 29 as a way of honoring the 50th anniversary of the tragic plane crash of Southern Airways Flight 932 that claimed the lives of 75 people. The majority of those killed were part of the Thundering Herd football program who were returning from a game against the Pirates.
“We are grateful to Jon Gilbert and everyone at East Carolina University for their efforts in making this schedule change come to fruition,” Marshall AD Mike Hamrick said in a release. “Our people, our universities and our football programs will forever be linked by the tragedy that occurred 50 years ago. This change will allow a national audience to join us in paying proper respect to the 75.”
The incident was famously recounted in the movie ‘We Are Marshall,’ starring noted football fan (and Texas’ Minister of Culture) Matthew McConaughey.
The two programs have met a total of 15 times over the years and have three additional non-conference games set between 2021 and 2025.
Set your calendars for this summer because the SEC preseason bonanza is set to be even more anticipated than it usually is.
The conference office in Birmingham announced the schedule for their annual Media Days event and all eyes in the college football world will be on it in 2020 with the addition of new coaches at a handful of the league’s schools.
The College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will play host to the festivities, which annually mark the official end of the long offseason and the beginning of a new season for the sport.
2020 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE
MONDAY, July 13
Florida – Dan Mullen
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Missouri – Eliah Drinkwitz
TUESDAY, July 14
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason
WEDNESDAY, July 15
Alabama – Nick Saban
Arkansas – Sam Pittman
Mississippi State – Mike Leach
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt
THURSDAY, July 16
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
South Carolina – Will Muschamp
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher
The highlight this year has to be Wednesday’s session that includes Saban answering questions about missing out on the College Football Playoff last year and the arrival of Leach to the throngs of media in the South at his first major appearance for Mississippi State. Having new Arkansas coach Pittman separating the two makes for a real murderer’s row of coaches that can give some quotes.
Don’t discount the day prior either with both Smart and Kiffin headlining things. The latter is no stranger to the event from his brief time at Tennessee too. Reigning national champion LSU and their newly rich head coach will also help kick things off on Monday. Player names will be announced later as well.
SEC Media Days is always quite the event in its own right. Adding in these new personalties to the already established names should make things even more exciting.
July can’t get here fast enough.
The NCAA announced Thursday that they’ve hit Pitt with several penalties related to violations for both their football and men’s basketball programs.
While hoops is the primary focus of the case, head coach Pat Narduzzi and the folks on the gridiron were not left untouched. Though the Panthers were certainly not hammered, they did receive a little more than a slap on the wrist as a result of some minor violations.
At the heart of the matter? Some coaches who were coaching when they were not supposed to be:
According to the agreement, the head football coach instructed or was present at the practice facility when three former quality control staff members performed coaching duties, resulting in the program exceeding the allowable number of permissible coaches. The university conducted adequate spot checks of the program, but the agreement said the violations were undetected in part due to the program’s practice of playing music to indicate when outside parties were present at the practice facility. Football quality control staff members reported that they would make sure they were not near student-athletes when hearing the music.
We’re guessing the fact that they had a scheme sophisticated enough to be changing music when people came in to the building during practice is why there were Level II penalties in the case instead of something even more under the radar.
As a result, Narduzzi was hit with a show-cause order that will see him miss two days of practices in during the team’s upcoming preseason camp in August. He also already missed one week of off-campus recruiting prior to the most recent signing day.
The program is also being forced to cut the number of coaches they have for a few hours and days during the spring.
All in all, nothing that will hamper the upcoming 2020 campaign that much but still more than just sending the coaches to a compliance meeting as you often see in similar cases. Pitt holds their annual Blue-Gold spring game on April 11 and begins the season on Sept. 5 against Miami (OH) at Heinz Field.
Fans of the USC football program, one source of pride has officially returned.
In July of last year, USC football angered a sizable portion of its fan base as well as former players by announcing that it had scheduled a 2021 game against UC-Davis. The Trojans had been one of three FBS programs that had never scheduled a game against an FCS team.
Wednesday, however, new athletic director Mike Bohn confirmed that USC is on the verge of canceling that football game and replacing it with another. Bohn revealed the development during a podcast appearance, as transcribed by 247Sports.com:
Well, I’m happy to tell you that we have informed UC Davis that we intended to cancel that game. We are in the final stages of formalizing an agreement with another FBS opponent to replace UC Davis, and I have to give our donors and fans a lot of the credit. When I arrived, I committed to listening and learning; and the feedback from our fans was clear. Preserving our history is critically important to us and to our fans, so we worked to make that happen.
Our fans didn’t like it and our fans recognize that we’re one of only three institutions to have never played a team at that level, and I think that says a lot about ‘SC and our commitment to wanting to make sure that our fans see viable games and ensure that they have a great experience watching those games. So, they were really clear about it and, to be honest with you, I think there were a lot of people on campus that encouraged us to ensure that we could fix that as well.
Unofficially, USC football rejoins Notre Dame and UCLA as the only FBS schools that have never played a game against an FCS team.
USC will reportedly be forced to pay UC-Davis for canceling the game.