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LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda speaks with his players during a timeout against Texas A&M, Thursday, November 24, 2016, at Kyle Field in College Station, Tx.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

It's official: Dave Aranda is the highest-paid assistant in college football, at least for now.

LSU confirmed Aranda's new contract that The Advocate reported about last week, releasing details about the three-year deal that runs through the 2019 season. Aranda will make $1.8 million next year, $1.85 in 2018 and $1.9 in 2019, according to the statement the school released Wednesday. 

The highest-paid assistant coach in the country this year, former LSU defensive coordinator and current Texas A&M coordinator John Chavis, made $1.55 million a year. He was followed by Clemson's Brent Venables ($1.43 million) and Alabama's Lane Kiffin ($1.4 million). 

For Aranda, he gets a $600,000 raise and a one-year extension. He signed a three-year, $1.2 million-a-year deal in January after former coach Les Miles hired him away from Wisconsin. 

Aranda also receives the title of associate head coach, as The Advocate reported last week. Aranda's buyout is 40 percent of his remaining salary if he accepts a non-head coaching position within 500 miles of Baton Rouge and 15 percent if outside of 500 miles - a normal provision in assistant coaches' contract at LSU.

After Dec. 1, 2019, there is no buyout provision, the statement said. There is also no buyout if he were to leave for a head coaching position.

“My family loves Baton Rouge,” Aranda said in the statement. “We are excited to build on what we’ve started. LSU is a special place. 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.”

In the statement, athletic director Joe Alleva called signing Aranda to a new deal a "vital step" in the program's future.

“We believe Coach Aranda is the best defensive coordinator in the country," Alleva said in the statement, adding that the new contract was worked out while Aranda recruited last week. “We wanted to make sure he came home to an agreement that was fitting of the best.”

Aranda’s new 3-4 defense excelled throughout this season, especially in the red zone. The Tigers finished 12th nationally in total defense, allowing just 323 yards per game, and they were seventh nationally in scoring defense, giving up 16.4 points per game. They’re second in the country in touchdowns allowed, with five of the 16 coming in the 54-39 win at Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.

Retaining Aranda was a key component in the search for the next head coach, and university leaders believed the hiring of head coach Ed Orgeron would keep Aranda in Baton Rouge. 

Orgeron’s future staff — specifically his coordinators — was integral to his hiring. Aranda was part of a long-term plan Orgeron laid out to Alleva in his interview for the job. The plan also included hiring an offensive coordinator with a proven and successful track record.

It’s no secret who is at the top of Orgeron’s list: Kiffin, the offensive coordinator at Alabama and a good friend and former coworker of Orgeron. Orgeron’s contract is more economical for LSU (five years, $3.5 million per year) than other head-coaching candidates, allowing the school to pay more than $1.5 million to its coordinators.

The hunt for an offensive coordinator is in wait-and-see mode. Kiffin interviewed for the head coaching position at Houston on Sunday, according to several reports. He's also one of a handful of top candidates for the job at South Florida that was left vacant when Oregon hired away Willie Taggart on Wednesday. 

LSU staff pay

 Name

 Contract expiration

 Salary

 Ed Orgeron, head coach

 After 2021 *

 $3.5M*

 Dave Aranda, DC

 March 31, 2020

 $1.8M

 Dameyune Craig, WR

 March 31, 2018

 $550,00

 Jeff Grimes, O-line

 March 31, 2018

 $525,000

 Corey Raymond, DB 

March 31, 2018

 $375000

 Steve Ensminger, TE 

 March 31, 2017

 $300,000

 Jabbar Juluke, RB 

 March 31, 2018

 $265,000

 Pete Jenkins, D-line

 ?

 $25,000^

 Dennis Johnson, OLBs

 ?

 $15,000^

^These are per-month salary figures, according to documents The Advocate received Wednesday through a public records request. 
*The university has not confirmed details of Orgeron’s contract, but The Advocate reported specifics of the deal on the day he was hired.

 

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.