UNLV has not offered its head football coaching job to anyone, a person close to the search said Tuesday night, despite an Associated Press reported late Tuesday that Louisiana State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda was offered the job.
The person close to the search would not speak on the record because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter.
Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated tweeted earlier Tuesday that UNLV was seriously considering Aranda, but people close to the search process disputed those reports and said they thought Aranda might be using the opening as leverage at LSU.
Others close to the search said Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo remains a serious candidate. UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francoise might also still be considering other candidates, those close to the search said. She has said she will be deliberative before making any decisions.
When asked Tuesday about the search process, Reed-Francois texted it was “progressing well.”
Aranda, 43, is midway through a four-year, $10 million contract that was the most lucrative for an assistant coach when he signed the deal in January 2018. He reportedly turned down overtures to become Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator to stay at LSU, which is 32nd nationally in total defense this season, allowing 341.3 yards per game.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables signed a five-year, $11.6 million deal in July 2018 to surpass Aranda’s total package.
A person close to UNLV’s search said the school has not finished vetting candidates before proceeding to the next step. That person said a decision on who to hire could be made toward the end of the week.
Arroyo, 39, is being strongly considered, according to several people close to the search. He is in his third season at Oregon, where he also is the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach.
Oregon averages 35.9 points a game, and quarterback Justin Herbert is completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 3,333 yards with 32 touchdowns and five interceptions. The No. 7 Ducks are the Pac-12 Conference champions and will face No. 11 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
Arroyo makes $825,000, according to Oregon Live, and it is believed Reed-Francois will pay in the $900,000 to $1 million range. Previous coach Tony Sanchez made $600,000 annually.