"I'm very excited for the opportunity to be able to coach with Coach Andersen and his staff. I have a great deal of respect for Utah State football, they play a hard, physical style of football and I believe it is an up-and-coming program that I'm proud and very happy to be a part of it. I want to do whatever it takes to get us to the next level," Aranda said.
Aranda comes to USU after four years at Hawaii, the last two spent as the Warriors' defensive coordinator after coaching UH's defensive line the first two years. Last year's Hawaii defense led the Western Athletic Conference and was tied for 15th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in sacks with 35 (2.7 pg), led by linebacker Art Laurel who ranked third in the WAC and tied for 24th in the nation with nine sacks.
"We were looking for a talented coach with defensive coordinator experience and we have found that with Dave Aranda. He was mentored by former Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin who has an excellent track record defensively. Dave's defenses speak for themselves with the numbers and talented players they have. Last season alone, three seniors from Aranda's defense have been invited to various senior all-star games. Coach Aranda's defenses are fundamentally sound and are excellent technicians. His defenses consistently play hard and at an extremely high-level," Andersen said. "We are excited to have him and his family be a part of our Aggie football family."
Aranda comes to USU highly recommended by his former mentor, McMackin.
"Dave did such a great job for me. He is one of my favorite assistants. When I first met him at Texas Tech I could tell that he was going to be a great coach. When I got the head job at Hawaii, he was one of the first guys I called. I've always been a defensive coordinator and after I realized that I couldn't still coordinate the defense and be the head coach, I was real nervous about giving Dave my `baby,' but he did a great job and took so much weight off my shoulders," McMackin said.
Under McMackin at Hawaii, in addition to Laurel, Aranda also coached two-time all-WAC honoree Corey Paredes and 2011 all-WAC linebacker Aaron Brown. In 2010 Paredes had the second-highest single-season tackles total in school history with 151 stops. Aranda also coached defensive lineman David Veikune, an NFL second-round draft pick.
"He's a grinder. He'll be the first guy to the office and the last guy to leave. The players love to play for him, he gets them fired up and ready to play. They'll like him because he treats them like men. I have nothing but great things to say about him. I have known Gary for a long time since we coached together at Utah for Ron McBride and consider him a good friend, so I'm really happy that Coach Andersen and Coach Aranda get to coach together. I'm just thrilled," McMackin said.
Aranda said that Andersen and his staff's experience played a large in his decision to accept this position.
"I think there is a lot of experience here with the defensive staff and that was a big plus when looking at this job. I can bring some different ideas that will mesh with the ideas that are here. I think there will be a lot of different hand writing up on the white board with ideas from everyone, which is a very good thing," Aranda said.