Dave Canales is set to become the fifth Latino coach in the NFL. No, not in the NFL this year, but in NFL history. There have only been 5 NFL coaches in the history of the league, and two of them were way back in the ’60s, and the other two very recently – Tom Fears, Tom Flores, Ron Rivera, and Brian Flores. So Canales is joining a very exclusive list.
The 42-year-old Mexican-American, who is set to become the 2024 head coach of the Carolina Panthers, was previously the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that his contract with the Panthers is for six years. The hope is that Canales’ previous success with quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, and Baker Mayfield can translate to Carolina’s young quarterback, Bryce Young, who struggled in his first year.
Before Tampa Bay, Canales was an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, serving in different roles on the offensive side of the ball. Those roles included wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, wide receiver coach, and passing game coordinator. Before that, he was at USC under legendary coach Pete Carroll.
Ironically, right before that, Canales was selling cowboy boots. Then he coached Carson High School and, afterward, El Camino College. Finally, he was doing coaching clinics with Carroll. The rest just fell into place. Sometimes things just happen the way they have to.
Canales, was born in Harbor City, California, and played wide receiver and defensive back in high school. He went on to play college football at Azusa Pacific University, where he also graduated with a degree in business administration. He is also married and has four children.
On social media, Dave Canales thanked the Buccaneers, the fans, and the organization for the time he spent with them as he moves forward to his head coach position.