East Carolina's rather unexpected firing of head football coach Ruffin McNeill created a couple of immediate questions. First, what the heck, ECU? And second, what the heck, ECU? But also: who do the Pirates have in mind for McNeill's replacement?
The move seemed so far out of left field it felt like ECU must have had somebody in mind, but uh, nope, no one specifically. Among the possible candidates for the gig, according to various college football media members, is NC State offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
East Carolina does not have an agreement w/anyone to replace Ruffin McNeill. "Just trying to upgrade the program," source told @ESPN— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 4, 2015
One name who could very well be in play for ECU: NC State OC Matt Canada. Was at NIU with Doeren/Compher.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) December 4, 2015
Some ECU possible candidates: Matt Canada, Rick Stockstill, Shawn Elliott— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 4, 2015
East Carolina possibles: Matt Canada, Rod Carey, Scott Satterfield, Jeff Brohm & Walt Bell.— Thayer Evans (@ThayerEvansSI) December 4, 2015
So I guess the ECU coaching search is something we have to monitor now. As Wolken mentions above, Canada was a coach at Northern Illinois while current ECU athletics director Jeff Compher was the AD for the Huskies. Granted it was only one year, but obviously there's familiarity between those guys.
Would Canada be ECU's first choice? That feels unlikely to me, since that doesn't seem like the sort of move that would warrant jettisoning McNeill, who did a solid job for the Pirates (and beat both State and UNC on the field). I'd imagine ECU would need a few guys to decline before getting to Matt Canada, but who the heck knows at this point.