Traditionally, 1st year head coaches have not fared well at Baylor, at least not in the win column. Entering the 2020 season, coach Dave Aranda has the ability to snap a long streak in the Baylor program. And all he has to do is lead the Bears to bowl eligibility.
In fact, it’s been over 60 years since a 1st year Baylor coach (not counting interim) has led the Bears to a bowl game in their debut season. Fans have to go all the way back to Sam Boyd’s 1956 squad that won the Sugar Bowl ti witness the feat. That doesn’t mean every Baylor 1st year season has been a complete waste, however. Guy Morris got a big win against Colorado that built a little momentum, Art Briles led a team that was much more competitive in Big 12 play, and although fans couldn’t see it at the time, Matt Rhule was setting the foundation for future success in his 1st season. But none of those coaches led Baylor to a bowl game appearance in their debut year.
In might seem unfair to have that as a measuring stick for success for a 1st year coach, but all around college football at a national level, coaches are getting done. Even closer to home in the Big 12, Chris Klieman led Kansas State to a somewhat unexpected bowl game appearance.
At this point in time it’s impossible to know whether a bowl game will even be considered a success for Aranda’s first year. But at the very minimum, he can accomplish something that hasn’t been done at Baylor in over 60 years.