Canada takes OC job at Northern Illinois

At least one member of Indiana’s departing football coaching staff managed to land on his feet quickly.

Former IU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said Thursday that he has been hired as the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois under new coach David Doeren, the former defensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Doeren was one of three coaches to interview for the head coaching position at IU before Kevin Wilson was hired.

“I needed a job and I was really fortunate to land at a top 25 program, which is what they are right now,” Canada said. “They’ve got a bunch of players coming back. It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s really nice to get a job that quickly after getting the rug pulled out from under you here. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.”

The comment about having the rug pulled out may sound bitter, but Canada says that it isn’t. In his days as Indiana’s offensive coordinator, Canada always stressed to his players that all that mattered were results, so he recognized that finishes of 3-9, 4-8 and 5-7 the last three seasons, including 1-7 marks in the Big Ten, did not help the former staff’s cause.

“It’s just part of our business,” Canada said. “It’s a bottom-line business. That’s something I’ve always said and I believe it. … Coach Hep always said, if you’re going to jump in the deep water, you have to be ready to swim with the big sharks.”

It was still disappointing, he said, to leave an offense that has a good bit of potential. If the Hoosiers can get junior wide receivers Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher to pass on an early NFL jump and if tailback Darius Willis’s knee heals and he could finally have a full season, IU will be loaded at the skill positions. They also need rising sophomore quarterbacks Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel to develop quickly, but if that happens, the Hoosiers could be able to score some points.

“It’s been a challenging situation because I was just at my alma mater,” Canada said. “You come back with the expectation of getting thiss thing where you wanted it. And then to leave the offense and players here is disappointing because I think you’re looking at a top 10-15 offense here at Indiana next year.”

Still, he leaves for a Northern Illinois team that went 11-3 this year including a 40-17 win over Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl.

“To be able to go to a place that just won 11 games is a really neat opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m very fortunate.”


  1. “……after getting the rug pulled out from under you.” What? Yea, it did sound bitter. And yea, it may not have been Canada’s fault, I think he was a fairly good OC, but it is a bottom line business and your boss and your associates, especially your defensive counterparts, didn’t get the job done. I’d say you are very lucky to have landed at NIU. One door closes and another one opens. Good luck.

  2. Congrats Matt! You did a great job at IU and I hope the best for you at NIU. Hopefully Many of the other offensive coaches land on their feet quickly. I have mentioned before that I hope Coach Wilson considers Billy Lynch for a position on staff. I think he would be a great fit.

  3. Chet, I am with you all the way. When you run about 3 looks and 10 or 12 plays in no variation in 3 or 4 years…you suck as an OC, period!

  4. “rug pulled out from under you” sounds like matt canada didn’t see it coming. i can’t believe that, unless he was that clueless about the realities of a big time university deciding it was done being terrible in football and wanted to clean house and get better.

    Anyone who thinks kevin wilson will consider previous coaches, especially the ex-head coach’s son, for positions on the new staff, is dreaming. hopefully IU is done with underachieving mediocrity in football and moving to a higher level that the previous staff had no inkling could be achieved — and no ability to coach the players to reach.

  5. I thought he may keep his job. IU had a much better offense than there talent level which has to have something to do with coaching.

  6. Exactly Cooper. The offensive side of the ball dealt with its strenghts. I competent quarterback how had a great grasp of the offensive and strong receivers. If Willis could have kept healthy this team would have had a more consistant running game. Either way, Billy Lynch needs to be considered for the new staff. It has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with getting the best coaches we can to coach the best players we can get. Billy was responsible for our op talent in the last 3 years and is responsible for the best coached position on the team. (The receivers). Definetly should be considered.

  7. Johnny Cee , I must be dreaming because Kevin Wilson just hired a former coache’s son to be his Co-defensive coordinator two days ago!

  8. Looks like some are bitter that Canada is going to a better program. Offense was not IU’s problem–it was a lack of defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Canada as a D-1 head coach sometime soon.

  9. kyle; out of context, bud. He meant the immediate former coach’s son. It would be unwise if Wilson hired Lynch Jr.

    “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” I think that summarizes Matt Canada’s time at IU. Relative to his coaching peers, he was O.K. Not great, not bad, just O.K.

    But the tone of his comments suggests he’s a little bitter.

  10. Going to a ‘better program’? Well, IU football sucks, no doubt about it, and he was a big part of that. But going from being the OC at a Big Ten school to the same position at a ‘directional school’, even if it’s currently winning some games, doesn’t look like much of an upward move. How many games did they have televised this year? It’s a pretty safe bet he took a pay cut. It’s the school Bill Mallory left to come to IU and it was where Lee Corso ended up after being fired. Northern Illinois has been either a stepping stone to IU or a soft landing spot for fired IU coaches. What kind of a program hires coaches discarded by IU? Seriously, how could any coach that has been such a key part of this dumpster fire be bitter about being fired?

  11. i wish matt canada well and hope he succeeds at NIU. agree with those who say he should go, though; it’s time for IU to take a chance on the devil they don’t know rather than the one they do.

    and yes, i was talking about the inadvisability of hiring the son of the immediate past coach when the son was part of the recently deposed staff. makes for shakespearean drama, bad karma, and IU certainly doesn’t need any more of that.

    given IU’s woeful record under bill lynch, and limited success of their offense, I can’t believe any IU fans want to keep some one who was a part of the old regime. IU was the worst team in the big ten three years running (and passing…), tied for that honor with minnesota once or twice, but at the bottom of the big ten barrel. new blood and a complete change to expunge bad memories and culture of the old is definitely in order.

    an exception to the above would be a coach who is a hold over from coaching staff to coaching staff — like the beloved howard brown was during the phil dickens, john pont and lee corso regimes. mr. brown was a fine man and great lineman under bo mcmillan — he had legitimate IU chops and was an “Indiana man” — and was perfect as a freshman coach to mold young men and get them squared away in the big U and its football program. that kind of father-figure coach is a rarity, however.

  12. Chet-It’s a much better program than IU right now. A winning program with a nice bowl win this year. I would love to see IU in the same spot but it will take time. It might not be the Big 10 but if Canada wins, he will move up. Blame who you want–one catch at Iowa and a defensive stand at Michigan and IU ends up 7-5 last year. Isn’t the new Minnesota head coach from NIU? Canada is gone–let’s hope the new staff can win at IU.

  13. I don’t doubt that Northern Illinois could mop the floor with IU but let me ask you this, do you think Coach Wilson would have left his OC gig at Oklahoma to be their head coach? Me neither.

  14. Back in September I heard many, if not all the Hoosier Football fans talking so much sh!&. These fans spoke about a DYNAMIC offense,,an offens ewith tons of weapons, a quarterbak that was the best in the Big Ten and to some Hoosiers the best in the country. The same Hoosier fans talked about the brilliant pass offense that the Hoosiers have, and even some saying that Indiana was going to the BCS National Champioship because they had a quarterback/tightend combo that couldnt be stopped. Theres so many more absurd predictions that these Hoosier Fans made but I will not dwell deeper into the fantasies of these Hoosiers.

    The week of the Michigan game was an eye opener for me. All the Hoosier fans were talking sh!& and saying Indiana was going to win, that they had a powerful offense and they were the best in the big ten. As I read these profound and often rediculous statements made by these Hoosiers all I could dowas smile…knowing Indiana had only beaten Michigan 1 time in what?? 40 yeaqrs. And with Michigan smack dead in the middle of a complete coaching staff and football philosophy OVERHAUL, the Hoosiers still could not beat Michigan. The fact that people were even breathing whispers of a possible upset just goes to show how serious this COMPLETE OVERHAUL of football philosophy of a deeply prided and pasionate history of the Michigan Wolverines was.

    Now, if you football fans from Indiana are smart you would realize that such a drastic change in philosophy can and often does take 6,7 or even more years to overcome.

    EXAMPLE: USC before Pete Carol was amidst a decade long struggle to win games, THEN LOOK WHAT CAROL DID- TEXAS before Mack Brown was amidst a decade long struggle to win games, THEN LOOK WHAT BROWN DID, and there was OKLAHOMA..LOOK AT WHAT STOOPS HAS DONE.
    * AS good as TEXAS under Mack Brown has been ( winning at least 10 games a year more than 9 years in a row,AND most importantly the sign of CONSISTENCY..Texas went to ” 14 straight bowl games, which had the whole college football worl gasping when they lost that streak this year and didnt make a bowl.
    DO ANY OF YOU INDIANA HOOSIER fans realize that MICHIGAN went to ( 33 STRAIGHT BOWLS until 2008 when their streak was snapped and they were left out of as bowl. CONSISTENCY PEOPLE,CONSISTENCY. Do you Hoosier fans realize that

    So Indiana fans…when I sat down this fall and listened to you folks talk all kinds of sh!^ about Michigan the week before the MIchigan vs Indiana game, I laughed because I know the stats..the history and the pagentary of these two schools. Thats why Michigan is Michigan..and Indiana is Indiana- So when you feel the need to talk down on Michigan, just remeber how fast this coaching change will take to get Big Blue back on top of the national scene..FASTER than USC,TEXAS and OKLAHOMA I guarantee it…and before long we’ll be back atop the national scene with another record bowl streak at stake..and you hoosiers, and you Indiana fans will still be cratching your heads looking for a winning season..just once man,just once- GO BLUE!!!! Remeber, michigan owns the ( Most wins, best win %, and longest bowl streak for a reason..BECAUSE WERE MICHIGAN!!!!!

  15. yo john michigan:

    unless you are being tongue in cheek and are not really a taunting hater of IU football, you might want to avail yourself of the services of a proctological fireplace implement removal service. the only thing worse than a wolverine full of himself is a buckeye or domer full of himself and its pretty much a three way tie.

    and while you’re singing the praises of your seedy 3-9, 5-7 and 7-5 coach, think about where that offensive genius — who got your spotless program into trouble within two years of arriving in ann arbor — is taking you — into a morass of mediocrity that not even jim harbaugh or brady hoke can get you out of. only urban meyer can save you — after next year.

  16. Wow, being taunted by a Michigan football fan. Who’s next, Army? How about Holy Cross? Tell me more about Tom Harmon. I wish you guys the best, college football is better when Michigan doesn’t suck. But taunting? You need to get out more.

  17. John Michigan,

    well at least IU didn’t lose to Appalachian State in the biggest upset in college football history when Michigan was in the top 10.

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