Matt Canada, a 25-year coaching veteran with a history of producing some of the top offenses in college football, enters his first season as LSU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2017.
Canada joined the Tigers in December of 2016 after a one-year stint at Pittsburgh where he led a Panthers offense that set school records for points in a season (532) and points per game (40.9). Under Canada’s direction, the Pittsburgh offense scored 40 or more points six times, including a school-record 76 points against Syracuse, and was the only Power 5 team to score at least 28 points in every regular season contest.
Canada, who was the only offensive finalist for the 2016 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, helped Pittsburgh to a 43-42 win over eventual national champion Clemson last year as well as a 42-39 victory over Big Ten Champion Penn State. The Panthers finished the year 8-5 overall and played in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Under Canada, Pitt ranked No. 10 nationally in points per game and No. 8 in redzone touchdowns with 45. The Panthers averaged 446.8 total yards per game (225.1 rushing, 221.7 passing). Following the season, Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman was selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
Prior to his one season at Pitt, Canada spent three years at NC State where as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, he helped develop Jacoby Brissett into a third round NFL Draft pick. With Canada calling the plays, NC State played in back-to-back bowl games in 2014 and 2015.
In 2015, the Wolfpack averaged 412.8 yards per game — the fifth-highest average in school history –despite losing leading rusher Matt Dayes (108.1 yards per game) to injury for the final five games. NC State led the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked 11th nationally in time of possession (33:03).
In 2014, NC State racked up its highest rushing total since 1977 with 2,659 yards. The Wolfpack averaged 6.0 yards per offensive play, the second highest mark in school annals. Brissett thrived as a dual threat under Canada’s watch in 2014 and 2015 as he combined to throw for 5,268 yards to go with 43 touchdowns. He also added nine rushing touchdowns during that span.
Brissett was one of just three Power 5 conference quarterbacks in 2014 with at least 2,000 passing yards, 300 rushing yards, 20 passing TDs and five (or fewer) interceptions. The others were Oregon Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley.
Prior to NC State, Canada was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin during the 2012 season. Led by All-America running back Montee Ball, the Badgers averaged 236.4 rushing yards per game to rank 13th nationally. Ball, who rushed for 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns, was named the recipient of the prestigious Doak Walker Award, annually presented to the nation’s top running back.
Canada’s offense exploded in the 2012 Big Ten Championship Game, a 70-31 rout of Nebraska, to earn the Badgers a trip to the Rose Bowl. Wisconsin had two 200-yard rushers for the first time in school history as it piled up 539 yards on the ground and 640 total against the Cornhuskers. In addition to Ball, the Wisconsin backfield also included James White and future Doak Walker winner Melvin Gordon.
In 2011, Canada was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for a Northern Illinois team that averaged nearly 40 points per game en route to an 11-3 record and the Mid-American Conference championship. The Huskies finished in the nation’s top 12 in scoring (12th at 38.3 points per game), total offense (11th at 476.0 yards per game) and rushing offense (12th at 234.1 yards per game). Quarterback Chandler Harnish was named the MAC’s Most Valuable Player, ranked ninth nationally in total offense (328.2 avg.) and was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Canada had two stints at Northern Illinois, also serving on the Huskies staff from 1998-2003. He oversaw NIU’s running backs (1998-2000) and quarterbacks (2001-02) before elevating to offensive coordinator in 2003. NIU’s 2003 team upset Alabama, Maryland and Iowa State in earning a No. 12 Associated Press ranking. Canada’s offense featured All-America running back Michael Turner, who averaged 137.3 rushing yards per game to rank second in the country.
From 2004-10, Canada coached quarterbacks at Indiana. He was the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator his final four seasons (2007-10) after serving as passing game coordinator for two years (2005-06). The 2007 Hoosiers posted a school-record 412 points in earning an invitation to the Insight Bowl, the program’s first postseason game in 14 years.
Canada coached two of the most prolific quarterbacks in IU history in Ben Chappell and Kellen Lewis. The duo still ranks highly in various school passing categories. Chappell holds Indiana career records for completions (651) and completion percentage (.611), while ranking third in touchdown passes (45) and passing yards (7,251). Lewis holds the season record for touchdown passes (28) and ranks second with 48 career TD passes.
Canada is a 1993 graduate of Indiana who began his coaching career as a Hoosiers student assistant (1992-93) and graduate assistant (1994-95). He earned his first full-time coaching appointment at Butler University, where he coached quarterbacks and wide receivers in 1996 and was the offensive coordinator in 1997.
Canada earned his B.A. in Business (1993) and M.A. in Sports Administration (1995) at Indiana University. Canada, who is from New Palestine, Indiana, and his wife have two children – a daughter Tori, and a son, Chris.
The Canada File
Year at LSU: First (appointed December 14, 2016)
Birthdate: January 19, 1972
Hometown: New Palestine, Indiana
Children: Tori and Chris
Alma Mater: Indiana University (B.A. Business, 1993); Indiana University (M.A. Sports Administration, 1995)
1993-96 Indiana (student assistant, 1993; graduate assistant, 1994-96)
1997 Butler (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1998-2003 Northern Illinois (running backs, 1998-2000; quarterbacks, 2001-02; offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 2003)
2004-10 Indiana (quarterbacks, 2004; quarterbacks/passing game coordinator, 2005-06; offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 2007-10)
2011 Northern Illinois (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2012 Wisconsin (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2013-15 NC State (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2016 Pittsburgh (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2017 LSU (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
Season, Bowl, Team, Opponent, Results
1993, Independence, Indiana, Virginia Tech, L, 45-20
2007, Insight, Indiana, Oklahoma State, L, 49-33
2011, GoDaddy.com, Northern Illinois, Arkansas State, W, 38-30
2012, Rose, Wisconsin, Stanford, L, 20-14
2014, St. Petersburg, NC State, Central Florida, W, 34-27
2015, Belk, NC State, Mississippi State, L, 51-28
2016, New Era Pinstripe, Pittsburgh, Northwestern, L, 31-24