Mean Green fans are anxiously awaiting the announcement of their new head coach after Dan McCarney was relieved of duties earlier this season. Although names are being tossed around all over social media and fan forums, there does not seem to be a runaway favorite at the moment. However, there does seem to be a general consensus on the makings of the man that must be the next coach.
According to most fans, the coach must be young, great at recruiting, successful, and have an offensive mindset. Sound easy enough? No, it doesn't sound easy. In fact, it sounds fairly unrealistic. Maybe the guy that should be leading the Mean Green has already been on the sidelines for years.
Understandably, Mike Canales is not a large name in college football. So let's start with a little background information. Canales played quarterback for Utah State in the early 80s. After a few smaller gigs at Snow College and the University of the Pacific, Canales became the offensive coordinator at South Florida.
In four seasons at USF, Canales helped lead the Bulls to three winning seasons before leaving to become the QB coach at North Carolina State. While at NC State, Canales helped develop quarterback Philip Rivers who threw for 61 touchdowns in his three years under Canales. In 2003, he spent a year with the Jets, followed by stints at Arizona and USF before ending up at North Texas in 2010.
Canales' resume seems even more impressive when considering the current NCAA head coach market. At the end of the 2014 football season, there were fourteen head coach positions available. Nine weeks into this season, there are already ten head coach positions open. Although there are numerous reasons that this position may be appealing, the position is not realistically one of the top openings.
Willie Fritz, who many fans thought of as a good choice, is not likely to end up in Denton next season. Unless the university can pull in a Kendal Briles or similarly big name for recruitment purposes, they may be downgrading from the man currently calling the plays.
There are, of course, questions surrounding Canales. UNT has room to improve when it comes to recruitment and Canales' ability to recruit has been questioned. Being in the DFW recruiting market would also be a wonderful situation to put a coach that can effectively recruit in.
However, at the end of this season, the team could possibly be looking for a new defensive coordinator along with a new offensive coordinator if Canales gets the head coach position. Bringing in coordinators that can recruit under a coach that has done some solid work with offenses in the past would be a good situation for UNT to be in at the beginning of the 2016 season.
Whoever takes the reigns for next season will have the task of motivating a team that is coming off of a rough season. Canales has the reputation of being a players coach and certainly has the ability to take on the task. Players seem to get excited to play for him and he appears even more passionate to lead the young men on his team. Even in this current coaching situation former North Texas player, Marcus Trice, has tweeted his support for the man they call "Coach Chico."
The majority of North Texas fans seem to be hoping for a big splash hire who will come in and make Denton, Texas the holy grail of college football. I get it, it's been a tough year for all of us. However, let's not get greedy and overlook what we already have in front of us. If that big name isn't interested in coming to North Texas, and Coach Canales is up for the task. Then maybe, just maybe, the university should take Trice's advice and #HireChico.