It was only a matter of time before Dave Aranda got a head coaching opportunity, and he finally got his chance. As he enters year 4 with the Baylor Bears, we take a deep dive to look at the coaching staff he assembled.
Baylor Bears Coaching Staff 2023
Head Coach, Dave Aranda
Dave Aranda’s been successful at every stop along his journey, and it’s his defenses that got him the recognition he deserves. Since 2010, Aranda’s stops as an FBS defensive coordinator include Hawai’i, Utah State, Wisconsin, and LSU before assembling his current Baylor Bears coaching staff.
At all of his stops, he helped produce school records and elevated the defenses to new heights. His time at Wisconsin and LSU is where he shined, producing some of the best defense in the country during his tenure. In 2020, he received an offer to become the 28th head coach in Baylor history.
Offensive Coordinator, Jeff Grimes
Most people remember Jeff Grimes for his work turning Zach Wilson into a first-round draft pick at BYU, but he’s done way more than just that. He’s best known for his work as an offensive line coach going back to Hardin-Simmons in 1996-97, but he relinquished those duties when he took the offensive coordinator position under Aranda.
Grimes was nominated as a Frank Broyles Award candidate, an award honoring the nation’s top assistant coach, for the second consecutive year with the Baylor coaching staff. He also serves as the tight ends coach for the offense, a group that saw results as soon as he came to campus.
His arrival made an instant impact on an offense that lacked firepower. In his first season, he raised Baylor’s rushing average by 129 yards per game over the previous year. The Bears finished 10th in rushing under Grimes after finishing 123rd the year before.
Defensive Coordinator, Matt Powledge
Powledge returns to Waco after spending the 2022 season as co-defensive coordinator at Oregon. Before Oregon, he served as the safeties coach and special teams coordinator for Baylor.
A big reason for Powledge’s return was his work with Jalen Pitre. The former Bears safety won Big 12 Player of the Year in 2021 and was a Thrope Award finalist that same year. He also helped former Oregon safety Bennett Williams elevate into an All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention player.
The Huntsville, Texas native returns to the state of Texas after coaching in the area for most of his career. He’s had stints at Louisiana-Lafayette, ULM, Sam Houston, Kentucky, Northwestern State, and Southeastern Louisiana since 2010.
Quarterback Coach, Shawn Bell
Shawn Bell was one of the few holdovers from the previous staff before Baylor hired Dave Aranda. He’s moved up the ranks within the program, and Aranda named him quarterback coach in 2021. He’s already improved current quarterback Blake Shapen’s game, seeing his signal caller produce the 9th most passing yards in a single season for the program.
Running Back Coach, AJ Steward
If you paid attention to Oregon State football last year, you know what Aj Steward is capable of doing with this position. Deshawn Fenwick, Jamious Griffin, and Damian Martinez combined for 2,023 yards and 18 total touchdowns for the Beavers last season. He’s been a running back coach with Oregon State, Arizona, BYU, and Rice before coming to Waco.
Wide Receiver Coach, Dallas Baker
If you’re looking for Dallas Baker’s credentials, you can watch them in Netflix’s latest college football documentary, Swamp Kings. Joining the Baylor coaching staff in 2022, he made an instant impact with the talent on the roster. Previously, he’s been the wide receiver coach at Warner University, Marshall, and Buffalo.
Offensive Line Coach, Eric Mateos
Baylor is fortunate to have two great offensive line minds on their coaching staff, and Eric Mateos has already done outstanding work for the Bears up front. Connor Galvin and Jacob Gall are just two of the most recent examples of his work, and he helped Jeff Grimes elevate the Baylor offense. He worked with Grimes at BYU as well from 2019 to 2020.
Defensive Line Coach, Dennis Johnson
One of the strengths of Dave Aranda’s defense during his time with Baylor has been the defensive line, and Bears defensive line coach Dennis Johnson deserves a ton of credit. He’s proven to be an elite recruiter, which helped him move up during his time with LSU before doing the same with the Bears.
Inside Linebacker Coach, Christian Robinson
An up-and-coming coach, Christian Robinson already has the respect of Dave Aranda as “one of the top young coaches in the country.” His first position coaching job was at Florida from 2018 to 2021 before coaching linebackers and doubling as the run-game coordinator with the Auburn Tigers in 2022.
Inside Linebacker Coach, Caleb Collins
Collins played linebacker for Southeastern Louisiana from 2012-16 and helped the Lions reach the FSC playoffs in 2013 and 2014. He served as a graduate assistant and an analyst for Aranda during his time at LSU before joining him at Baylor in 2021.
Cornerback Coach, Kevin Curtis
Kevin Curtis is a former 2-time All-American, 3-time All-Big 12 selection, and Texas Tech Hall of Famer for his time in Lubbock. He’s been the cornerback coach for the Baylor coaching staff since 2021, and the Bears secondary has produced plenty of elite playmakers thanks to him.