The University of Pittsburgh football team battled against fierce naysayers in 2016, that’s for sure. But through its successes and failures, a star-studded offense, guided by none other than Matt Canada, consistently produced an effective offense week in and week out for Pitt. In turn, as a token to his wealth of success, Canada finds himself landing within a healthy poll of five finalists for the Broyles Award, a yearly award given to the top assistant coach in the nation.
Along with Canada’s candidacy, four others are competing for the title too: Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama; Brent Venables, Clemson; Jim Leavitt, Colorado; and Don Brown, Michigan.
Congrats to 2016 #BroylesAward Finalists.
— BROYLES AWARD (@BroylesAward) November 28, 2016
Canada — of the five nominated candidates — is the only offensive coordinator within the bunch (all defensive).
Just one year into securing Jim Chaney’s vacant coordinator post, almost every single major offensive saw Herculean improvement. Without a doubt, saying Canada’s offensive scheme altered the franchise would be an understatement.
The offensive output skyrocketed, total points for the year even set a program record (432 total points).
If the Panthers’ offensive coordinator is deemed the winner, then Pitt would theoretically employ two Broyles Award trophy winners on its staff — head coach Pat Narduzzi took home the honor in 2013 as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator.
The 2016 winner, however, announced Tuesday, December 6, compiles an 18-member crew who decides the nation’s top assistant coach.
Canada’s full statement regarding the award: “I am humbled and honored to have been selected by the Broyles Foundation as a finalist for assistant coach of the year. The credit for this goes first to our players, coaches and everyone in the program who ‘pack our player’s parachutes.’ Second, to head coach Pat Narduzzi, who has created an environment where coaches and players can maximize their potential. We are very humbled to be mentioned with the other coaches and programs for this award.”
Joe Cinello covers Pirates and Pitt Panthers material for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), LinkedIn (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (jcin13).