CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers are set to welcome Dave Canales, the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as their new head coach, according to reliable sources familiar with the matter.
While Canales has conveyed his acceptance of the position to the Buccaneers, there are still pending details that need finalization before the official announcement, as revealed by individuals who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday under the condition of anonymity.
Canales, a Mexican-American, becomes the seventh head coach since owner David Tepper assumed ownership in 2018. Taking charge of a Panthers team that faced a challenging 2-15 record last season, Canales steps into the role with the added complexity of not having a first-round draft pick in 2024.
His appointment makes him the second head coach of Latino descent for the Panthers, joining Ron Rivera. This move aligns with the league’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion, marking the third minority hire in this coaching cycle.
Canales, 42, rapidly ascends to the head coaching position after serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2022. Having spent 13 seasons in Seattle, including roles as wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach, Canales contributed to the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory in the 2013 season.
His recent role as the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers saw him guide the team to the NFC divisional playoffs with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Now, Canales faces the task of nurturing the development of quarterback Bryce Young, the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft. Young struggled as a rookie, and Canales will play a pivotal role in harnessing his potential.
Canales’ previous success with quarterbacks, including the resurgence of Mayfield’s career in Tampa Bay, has evidently left a lasting impression on Tepper. The Panthers’ owner has been known for his proactive approach to coaching changes, and the success of Canales will be closely observed in this dynamic coaching landscape.