Badgers hire Canada as offensive coordinator

Badgers hire Canada as offensive coordinator

Published Jan. 17, 2012 1:28 p.m. ET

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema entered this offseason with five vacancies on his coaching staff. On Tuesday, he filled perhaps the most important.

Bielema named Matt Canada offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Canada spent last season in the same role at Northern Illinois, where he helped guide the Huskies to an 11-3 record, a Mid-American Conference championship and a victory in the Bowl.

"Matt has a terrific history as an offensive coordinator and has excelled at developing quarterbacks throughout his career," Bielema said in a statement. "I know he is very excited about running a pro-style offense and handling a game the way we typically have at Wisconsin. I think this is a great hire for us, and I can't wait for him to get to work with our coaches and players."

Canada replaces former Wisconsin offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Paul Chryst, who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh.

On Monday, Bielema announced the hiring of Zach Azzanni from Western Kentucky as the program's wide receivers coach. Canada's hiring marks the second of five Bielema will have to make this offseason. Chryst took three Badgers assistants with him to Pitt: linebackers coach Dave Huxtable, offensive line coach/run game coordinator Bob Bostand and tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Joe Rudolph.

Last season, Canada worked with former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Doeren and led one of the top offenses in the country. Northern Illinois finished among the top 12 in the nation in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense. Northern Illinois and Wisconsin were two of five teams in the country to average at least 230 yards rushing and passing last season.

"I'm truly excited for the opportunity to come to Wisconsin," Canada said in a statement. "It's a program that I've followed closely for a number of years. I've always been impressed with their tradition, especially with their style of play, and I can't wait to be a part of that."

Canada, a native of New Palestine, Ind., worked two stints at Northern Illinois. He spent six seasons (1998-2003) as an assistant coach for the Huskies under former coach Joe Novak, working with the running backs and later quarterbacks before taking over as offensive coordinator in 2003.

From 2004-2010, Canada was an assistant at his alma mater, Indiana, where he coached the quarterbacks each season and served as offensive coordinator his last four years.

Canada began his coaching career as a student assistant at Indiana (1992-93) and graduate assistant (1994-95). He became a full-time coach in 1996 at Butler University, working with quarterbacks and wide receivers before moving up to offensive coordinator in 1997.

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