If Matt Canada isn’t the most well-traveled coach in the profession for this rapidly closing decade, he has to be in the team picture. A quick glance at his work history will tell you as much.
2010: Indiana offensive coordinator
2011: Northern Illinois offensive coordinator
2012: Wisconsin offensive coordinator
2013-15: NC State offensive coordinator
2016: Pitt offensive coordinator
2017: LSU offensive coordinator
2018: Maryland interim head coach
That’s seven different jobs over a 9-year period, but a closer examination reveals that it’s not what it looks like. Indiana, for example, was the end of a 4-year run working under Bill Lynch, who was fired after the 2010 season. Canada latched on with Dave Doeren at NIU in 2011, then earned a promotion to Wisconsin for the 2012 season. After helping the Badgers to a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl appearance, Canada reunited with Doeren in Raleigh where, according to his telling, “they” decided not to retain him for the 2016 campaign, not Doeren himself.
Even still, his 2016 season at Pitt was an unqualified success; his one season on staff saw the Panthers’ scoring average leap from 28.2 to 40.9. That season landed him an offer no coach would refuse, $1 million-plus a year from LSU, and Canada took it. The arranged marriage between Canada and Ed Orgeron ended in quick divorce, but he landed on his feet in 2018, taking the offensive coordinator job at Maryland, which turned into a sudden promotion to interim head coach when DJ Durkin was suspended and later fired.
Considering the circumstances, Canada acquitted himself well as a head coach. He beat Texas in his first game and came within a 2-point conversion of beating Ohio State and sending the Terps to a bowl game.
But Maryland, understandably, cleaned house after a 5-7 season, and after a decade of constant calls, Canada’s phone stopped ringing.
Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger tracked Canada down and found him following the Coach on the Sideline playbook: he’s spending his days decompressing at his beach house while also prepping for his eventual return.
Canada is optimistic he could join an NFL team’s support staff for the 2019 season, but wether that happens or not he knows what he wants to do next:
Canada was a rookie in the head coach’s seat having to rally a heartbroken team in a divisive situation… He realized something: “I want to be a head coach,” he says. This past offseason, industry sources tell Sports Illustrated that four programs interviewed Canada face-to-face: Appalachian State, Utah State and Maryland for head coach openings, and Tennessee for its offensive coordinator job. Canada declines to confirm any of this.
After spending this current decade making more hops than a jackrabbit, Canada would like to put down roots in the 2020s. And he’d like to do it as a head coach.