Photo of Matt Cannata courtesy of UMHB Athletics Department
BEAUMONT, Texas- For a second straight season, UMHB will have a new offensive line coach.
The news came about Wednesday afternoon, when it was announced by Lamar University, an FCS program and member of the Southland Conference, that UMHB offensive line coach Matt Cannata would be joining the Cardinals’ staff. The move makes sense for Cannata, who worked as an offensive line assistant under new Lamar head coach Pete Rossomando at Charlotte prior to coming to Belton last spring. Rossomando was Charlotte’s offensive line coach for two years as well as the interim head coach for the final four games of the 49ers’ 2022 season.
“Matt is a Houston native,” said Rossomando in a press release from Lamar on Wednesday. “It was important for me to have someone I trusted to coach the offensive line, but also someone I trust to recruit the Houston area.
“Matt really knows the coaches in that area and understands the ins and outs of recruiting in Houston. Matt has deep ties to the state of Texas after coaching at Texas Lutheran and Mary Hardin-Baylor, and it was just important to me to get him here.”
Cannata had great success as a recruiter in his short time with the Crusaders, interacting with primarily Houston-area prospects. He held that role in addition to working with UMHB’s offensive line, which boasted four All-ASC selections in 2022, including Offensive Lineman of the Year Ethan Ruckman. Ruckman had a 95 percent grade as he tallied 54 pancake blocks and allowed just one sack in 10 starts during the regular season. Center Jeffery Sims Jr. and offensive lineman Reuel Tandoh were also First-Team honorees, each finishing the season with a grade above 90 percent. Matt Sanders was a Second Team All-Conference selection, with a grade of 88 percent. Overall, Cannata’s offensive line contributed greatly to an offense that ranked second in the league in the regular season in rushing yards (2,086), total offensive yardage (4,698) and points (445). The Cru offensive line allowed just eight sacks through 10 regular season games, which ranked No. 1 in the ASC.
Cannata’s hiring by UMHB was officially announced on Feb. 16, 2022, after spending three years at Charlotte (D-I FBS). He also spent two years at his alma mater, Texas Lutheran, and one season at Austin Peay State.
Though Cannata has spent four previous seasons at the D-I level, this will be his first stint as the head of a program’s offensive line. Lamar was 1-10 in 2022.
Cannata’s presence in Belton will certainly be missed, but we at True To The Cru wish him the best of luck as he continues his coaching journey.