Let’s go in the way back machine to 2010. Mike Canales, in his first year with the program after a three year stint at South Florida, was promoted to the head coaching role on an interim basis for the final five games of the season. This was as a result of Todd Dodge being fired mid-season.
Canales led the Mean Green to a 2-3 record in those final games and jumped overall scoring from 16.9 points per game to 33.8 points per game. He helped improve the team’s total offense from 348.7 yards per game to 412.4 yards per game and the rushing offense from 173.4 yards per game to 242.4 yards per game. His first game as head coach, a 33-6 win over Western Kentucky, was the second time the Mean Green broke past 30 points on the season. The offense would do that three more times before the season ended. Canales ended the season nearly beating Big 12 power Kansas State, falling 49-41.
Player sentiment was high on Canales following the 2010 season, with many in the organization openly asking why the interim label was not removed and Canales being offered the job. Alas, it was not meant to be as the program went in a different route and hired Dan McCarney as the head coach. In a surprise to some, McCarney announced at his introductory press conference that he would retain Canales at the same position.
Caneles has been with the Mean Green since then as the associate head coach, quarterback coach, and offensive coordinator, before getting a second chance to lead the Mean Green as interim head coach.
So, we know about Canales with North Texas. How did he end up here?
Canales, 54 years old, is a native of Coronado, California and a former quarterback for Utah State University from 1981-1983. After his playing career, Canales was a graduate assistant under LaVell Edwards at BYU from 1985-1986. Canales then moved to JUCO program Snow College, of Ephtaim, Utah, from 1987-1994. During that time, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Canales then made the move to Pacific University in 1995, coincidentally their final year as a FBS program.
The well-traveled Canales then became part of Jim Leavitt’s initial coaching staff at South Florida, where he stayed from 1996-2000. After short stints as North Carolina State and the New York Jets, Canales made the move to the Arizona Wildcats.
Canales spent three years at Arizona, before moving back to South Florida from 2007-2009 to be the passing and then offensive coordinator. In 2008 at South Florida, Canales’ offense led the Big East Conference in scoring and finished second in total offense. He helped his team reach a national ranking as high as No. 2 during the 2007 season and No. 10 during the 2008 season.
In 2010, Canales was hired by North Texas as the offensive coordinator, a position he has held for the last six seasons.
Canales has stated his desire to bring fun and excitement back to the program. His first test will be versus Western Kentucky, the same team the he first faced as an interim in 2010. North Texas fans will be ecstatic if the Mean Green can duplicate that 33-6 win over the Hilltoppers in 2010.
Should Canales be considered as a serious candidate for the head coaching job? What do you think? Tell me in the comments if you think Canales should get a shot at the full time head coaching gig, or should they clean house once the season ends and go in a new direction?