TUCSON--Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said today that offensive coordinator Mike Canales has resigned his position and left the Wildcat football staff.
Canales said it was a difficult decision but one he made in the best interests of the UA program. "There's never a good time to leave a situation where you feel there's still work to do, but Arizona football will benefit in the long term," he said. "I've had a good time here and think the program is ready to take off, and often some new leadership is the appropriate decision," Canales said.
Canales, 45, joined Stoops' staff as coordinator for the latter's first season in 2004, but began to share offensive strategy decisions the week before the Stanford game in early October when Stoops promoted tight ends coach Dana Dimel to co-offensive coordinator in a move he said was designed to shore up Arizona's rushing attack.
Canales and Tuitama
Canales and Tuitama
Both agree that this year's woes can be traced, in part, to the loss of continuity based on sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama, who was knocked from three games with concussions and was somewhat limited for nearly three quarters of the season by virtue of lost practice or game time. He missed three starts and basically most of four other games.
Although the final conference statistics will be based on additional games including three this week plus the bowl season -- of which UA still has a chance to be included -- the Cats are ninth in total offense, passing and rushing offense in this week's Pacific-10 Conference stats. UA finished ninth in total offense in 2005 and 10th in the category in 2004.
Stoops said the search for Canales' replacement as quarterbacks coach will begin immediately and that the offensive coordinator situation would be based on who succeeds the 22-year coaching veteran.
Canales was receivers coach for the New York Jets for a season prior to joining Stoops at Arizona. He was quarterbacks coach at North Carolina State during two of Phillip Rivers' big seasons with the Wolfpack in 2001-02 and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks mentor for five seasons at Sourth Florida prior to that. He served in a similar capacity at Snow College in Utah for eight seasons before that and earned some early coaching spurs on Brigham Young's staff under Norm Chow and Lavell Edwards in 1985-86.
Canales was a collegiate quarterback at Utah State in the early 1980s and earned a master's degree from BYU in 1986.
Dimel, 44, joined UA's staff last winter after a year assisting the Kansas State staff as a graduate assistant. He is a former head coach at Houston (2000-02) and Wyoming (1997-99) and has been an offensive coach or coordinator for much of his 19-year career in the game.