Aranda Rides Coaching Carousel

As the coaching carousel continues to turn, Utah State coach Gary Andersen heads to Wisconsin to replace Brett Bielema. Andersen inherited a woeful Aggies program, and in his third season produced an 11-2 record and a bowl win.

Part of that outstanding season was because of the off-season hire of former UH defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to that same position at Utah State.

Aranda coached the Aggies defense to the No.8 spot in scoring defense – the best number ever posted at Utah State. Consequently, Aranda became a hot commodity and was reportedly offered defensive coordinator positions at Cal and Texas Tech and is on the list for assistant coach of the year.

Probably shouldn’t have been surprising, considering Aranda’s work ethic. While at UH, Aranda was known for getting to work at 4:30 a.m. and leaving at 9 or 10 p.m. One assistant coach said of Aranda, “You can’t outwork him.”

He’s a master of the technology and a relentless grind on scouting. He would call the defensive coordinator of every team that had played UH’s opponents. And on top of the work ethic, he’s a truly decent human being.

He’ll likely go with Andersen to Wisconsin, where he’ll bring his energies to bear against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan. He’s a great example of hard work and perseverance netting excellent results.

* Ben Jay, the new UH Athletics Director, will face considerable challenges as he prepares to begin his tenure in January. UH has not been in the black anytime recently, except for the Sugar Bowl year, and analysis by USA Today shows that rising salaries for assistant coaches are one more obstacles to Jay and his counterparts nationally in trying to achieve balanced budgets.

It wasn’t all that long ago when the UH head football coach made a little more than $100,000. Just ask Dick Tomey, Bob Wagner or Fred Von Appen. Now the average pay for assistants at FBS (Div. 1 A) schools is $201,000. Sixteen assistants make $600,000 or more. And while that is a huge increase from a decade ago, it’s very similar to the gains made by head coaches.

And revenue streams are not keeping up, meaning most college athletic programs have to be subsidized by their schools or their states. Similarly, the monies athletics programs are spending on facilities also are way up, and some of these expenses are filed under capital improvements and may not be listed as athletic department expenses. Jay will have his hands full in Manoa.

* Things have gone from bad to worse for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

After a five-turnover performance against the Tennessee Titians last Monday night, not only did the Jets lose and get eliminated from the playoffs, but Sanchez lost his starting job for the rest of the season. He’s also receiving death threats.

The good news for Sanchez is the Jets owe him $8.2 million next year regardless of whether he plays or not. As consolation prizes go, not too bad.