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Dave Canales: From High School to NFL Head Coach

The Carolina Panthers may be heading in the right direction (it's about damn time) with the hire of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Dav Canales. What is Dave Canales' journey to Carolina? How has his coaching legacy played out so far? 

Where it all started at the High School level

Dave Canales started coaching football at the high school level (like most NFL coaches do). He coached at Carson High School in California, where he worked as the offensive coordinator. During the 2004-2005 season, the Colts went 7-5 with a 4-1 league record (they ended first in the Marine conference that year). The leading passer under Canales's offense was Boniegh Napoloean, who passed for 2,425 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. After his time at Carson High School, Canales moved on to coach at the collegiate level.

Community College Level

As some students do after high school, Canales coached at a nearby community college called El Camino College (from 2006-2008) in Torrance, California, where he worked from the Special Teams/Tight Ends coach to the Quarterback coach. In Canales' first season, the team would capture its first football state title in 35 years. After his time at El Camino College, Canales moved on to Division 1 college football.

Division 1 College Football

Canales worked at USC as an assistant strength coach. The Head Coach of the USC Trojans in 2009 happened to be Pete Carroll (that comes into play later on). The Trojans, during 2008, were on top of the College football world. They finished the year with a 9-3 record. Pete Carroll's quarterback at USC was freshman Matt Barkley (now a backup in the NFL). During the college football playoffs, the Trojans won in the Emerald Bowl over Boston College, with the final score being 24-13. That would be Canale's only year at the college level. 

On the morning of January 9th, 2010, the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL hired Peet Carroll, who was fresh off one of USC's most successful college football runs. Canales now had a difficult choice to make. And like in the movies, this happened.

First Team of his NFL Coaching Career

Canales would follow Pete Carroll to the Seattle Seahawks. From 2010-2022, Canales worked his way up in the NFL system from Quality Control coach to Quarterback coach. Dave was with Seattle when they won it all in 2014 with Russell Wilson (Canales was the assistant quarterbacks coach). In 2022, after the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson, their QB Geno Smith had a career resurgent year (a big part of that was coaching. Canales led that coaching as the QB coach. 

NFL Team Number Two: Electric Boogaloo 

After 12 years with Seattle Canales, he was hired as an offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he is truly cost to cost). Once Canales left, Geno Smith took a tiny step back. Canales's next quarterback to resurrect was Baker Mayfield, who had been with his fourth team on a prove-it-type deal. Would Canales be able to save him? Yes indeed. Baker threw 4,044 yards (the most of his career), 28 touchdowns (again a career high), and ten interceptions. Mayfield had one of the best years of his career while running Canales' offense. 

Team Number Three for Canales

On January 25th of this year, David Tepper announced that the division rival Carolina Panthers had hired Dave Canales. He gets an opportunity to be a head coach, which he's dreamed about. He gets to run the offense and team his way. Panthers fans (including myself) hope Dav Canales can work his resurrection magic and save Bryce Young's career and the Carolina Panthers as a franchise. 


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