LSU Football Coach Search Could Be Losing Top Candidates Dave Aranda and Billy Napier

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LSU athletic director Scott Woodward may be in the process of losing two of his top candidates – Baylor coach Dave Aranda and Louisiana-Lafayette coach Billy Napier – in the coming days.

“I love it here, and this is where I want to be,” Aranda told FOX Sports Joe Klatt on Wednesday. “And I think the fit at Baylor is so strong.”

Pete Thamel of Yahoo sports then reported on Thursday that Baylor is working on a contract extension to possibly keep Aranda, who is is LSU’s top target, according to what two sources close to the search told Outkick on Monday.

Aranda is in his second season at Baylor and has the Bears (9-2) ranked No. 8 in the latest College Football Playoffs rankings. Baylor and Texas Tech (6-5) play at 11 a.m. Saturday on FOX Sports 1.

Aranda could have been posturing as his team could reach the Big 12 title game next week with a win over Texas Tech and an Oklahoma loss to Oklahoma State.

Aranda was LSU’s defensive coordinator in 2019 when the Tigers went 15-0 and won the national championship. He then soon left for Baylor. Aranda produced highly ranked defenses at Wisconsin as defensive coordinator from 2013-15 before going to LSU prior to the 2016 season.

USC is also interested in hiring Aranda, who is from Redlands, California, near Los Angeles and went to Cal Lutheran in the area.

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin has a strong interest in Napier, who has Louisiana at 10-1 on the season and ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press poll.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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