The football coaching merry-go-round that has taken Matt Canada to seven schools in the past nine years stopped at Maryland on Tuesday.
Canada, 46, who as a first-time offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois in 2003 helped contribute to a season-opening upset of the Terps, was named to the same position in College Park.
Canada replaces Walt Bell, who left last week after two seasons under DJ Durkin to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Florida State.
“Matt has a unique ability to utilize any and all types of personnel, and still produce extremely explosive offenses,” Durkin said in a statement. “He’s a very versatile coach that has experience developing impact players at every offensive position. Matt’s had a great deal of success everywhere he’s been and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him here at Maryland.”
Terms of Canada’s contract at Maryland were not announced.
Canada was reportedly the highest-paid assistant in the country last season at LSU, where he had signed a three-year deal for $1.5 million annually but left after just one season. His departure was reported to be mutually agreed upon with Tigers coach Ed Orgeron.
As part of the settlement with LSU, Canada reportedly will get $1.7 million this year, which could help make him more affordable for the Terps. Bell’s annual salary at Maryland was $507,000.
In a separate move, Durkin also announced that he has promoted wide receivers coach Chris Beatty to co-offensive coordinator.
Beatty, who has been credited with helping developing wide receiver DJ Moore into an All-Big Ten Conference selection, is also considered one of Maryland’s top recruiters.
“Chris is an integral part of our coaching staff and I’m excited to have him in this role,” Durkin said in the statement. “I’m proud of the work he’s done with our student-athletes and am happy to have him continue playing an instrumental role in the upward direction of the program.”
Beatty’s role as co-coordinator is likely to be similar to that of Jimmy Brumbaugh, who joined the staff last season as defensive line coach and worked with defensive coordinator Andy Buh. Just as Buh was in charge of the defense, Canada is expected to be oversee the offense.
Canada comes to Maryland with some Big Ten experience, having played and coached at Indiana, where he worked in a variety of positions from 2004 to 2010, including as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach his last four years.
After returning to Northern Illinois for a season, Canada spent one year as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin, where running back Montee Ball rushed for 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns and won the Doak Walker Award.
Canada spent three years at North Carolina State, where he helped develop quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who became a third-round NFL draft pick. At Pittsburgh in 2016, quarterback Nathan Peterman led the Atlantic Coast Conference in pass efficiency under Canada, who was named a finalist for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
The Panthers set school records that season for points scored (532) and points per game (40.9). Pitt was the only Power Five conference team to score at least 28 points in every regular-season game, beating eventual national champion Clemson, 43-42, and Big Ten champion Penn State, 42-39.
Canada ran into trouble early and often at LSU, which finished 54th nationally in total offense (411.1 yards). The Tigers were 28th in rushing (207.6 yards) but just 82nd in passing (203.5).
He took a lot of heat after the Tigers struggled early in the season, getting blown out at Mississippi State, 37-7, on Sept. 16 and then committing four turnovers in a shocking 24-21 home defeat to Troy two weeks later.
While LSU recovered to finish the regular season 9-3 — its only other regular-season defeat came at eventual national champion Alabama — there was speculation about Canada’s future in Baton Rouge even before the Tigers lost to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl.
Asked before the bowl whether he had controlled the Tigers’ offense all season, he sat mum. One week later, Canada and the schools parted ways.