Aside from his general football brilliance, Baylor Football head coach Dave Aranda is a profound and philosophical thinker who truly appears as more of an intellectual than a sports genius. I could go on and on about how Aranda led the football team through the most successful season in program history, was named the Associated Press’ Big 12 Coach of the Year, rightfully earned the 2022 George Munger Coach of the Year award by the Maxwell Football Club, and in February, inked a contract extension through 2029! Under Aranda’s leadership, the Bears went from 2-7 in 2020-21 to 12-2 in the 2021-22 season. The team secured a program-high 12 wins, recorded their first-ever Big 12 Championship title game victory, had first and only New Years 6 bowl win in the CFP era, and notched 5 wins over Top 25 opponents for their most top-25 wins in a season since at least 1974! Of course it’s easy to write about Aranda’s accomplishments as Baylor’s leader, but it’s even more fun to read what comes out of his brain. During the 2022 Big 12 Football media days, Aranda provided attendees with pages of deep gems about a wealth of topics including his current reads, football philosophy, and how much he truly “appreciates the question.” I picked several paragraphs of Aranda’s 2022 Big 12 Football media responses that I loved most and thought would be insightful moving forward through the offseason.
On his current reads: “There’s a book by Shawn Ginwright that’s called The Four Pivots. It’s about social change. It’s really good. I think there’s some points in there where he talks about going from transactional to transformational, and he talks about going from a lens to a mirror, where we’re all kind of trained to critique and label and look out, but the hardest look is looking in the mirror. As they say, the mirror doesn’t lie. So that’s a really good one.”
On naming Blake Shapen starting QB over Gerry Bohanon: “Just at the end of it, it just became apparent, especially with the spring game, I think that was a factor in it, but at the end of it, it just became apparent that Blake was our better passer. Just very difficult for me because I think—I always look at people before I look at players, and I think in this one we had to look at who could be the better player for us and not really incorporate the person, which is just kind of the opposite of what I usually do. So it just became a very difficult thing. I think with Gerry, there is no me without Gerry, there is no last year without Gerry, there’s none of that. You walk in my house, I’ve got pictures of my kids posing next to Gerry. It’s just kind of a crazy thing. So it was very difficult to do.”
On his main focus during the offseason: “I think it’s continuing to make — for there to be enough trust and enough love, really, where guys make themselves available to each other, where you’re not pretending or performing or trying to be what you think a coach wants you to be or what you think a position group wants you to be, but for you to really be yourself.”