Canales to interview with Sam Houston

North Texas offensive coordinator Mike Canales will interview for the head coaching job at Sam Houston State on Tuesday. (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

UNT offensive coordinator/associate head coach Mike Canales will interview to become the new head coach at Sam Houston State on Tuesday, a source close to the situation said Sunday night.

Sam Houston previously announced that K. C. Keeler, Mel Tjeersdma, Scott Wachenheim and Darrell Wyatt would interview for the position. At that time, the school said that it could elect to interview another candidate.

That candidate is Canales.

Canales served as UNT’s interim head coach after Todd Dodge was fired in the middle of the 2010 season and posted a 2-3 record. Canales helped guide UNT through an awkward time in program history when Dodge’s son Riley Dodge was still a key member of the team.

Canales was a candidate to take over as UNT’s head coach before the school decided to hire Dan McCarney. The former Iowa State coach retained Canales as one of his top assistants.

The Mean Green posted one of its best offensive seasons in recent memory under Canales this fall, averaging 31.8 points a game and setting a UNT record for points scored in a bowl game in a 36-14 win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

UNT quarterback Derek Thompson was named the MVP of the game after throwing for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Canales has served as the offensive coordinator for three FBS schools and also spent time as the New York Jets wide receivers coach.

Canales’ name has come up in connection with openings for head coaches in the past, including at Arkansas State.

UNT is already in the process of replacing one of its assistants. Defensive line coach Mike Nelson retired after the end of the season. Former South Florida assistant Kevin Patrick emerged as the leading candidate for the position and is expected to be formally announced as the next member of the Mean Green’s staff in the next few days after he is approved UNT’s compliance department.

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