34-year-old Kaleb Canales is currently serving as the interim head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers. Canales is the first Mexican-American coach in NBA history. As well, he is the youngest coach in the NBA.
Canales wont be known for his athletic accolades; his playing career stretched as far as Alexander High School in Laredo, TX where he graduated in 1996. He then attended Laredo Community College before going to the University of Texas at Arlington. While at UTA, Canales served as the basketball team manager for a year. Canales graduated from UTA with a degree in kinesiology before attending Virginia Commonwealth University where he earned his masters degree in sports leadership.
Canales first coaching stint occurred in 2001 at Laredo Martin High School, where he spent one season before moving to Laredo United High School. Having only spent two formal years coaching basketball, Canales made the big move up to college where he served as an assistant coach back at UTA.
With dreams of, one day, being an NBA coach, Canales began to take action in his goals. Having applied for an internship with the Miami Heat multiple times, Canales finally landed an unpaid internship with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2004. After a year of intern duties, Canales was hired on as a video coordinator where he worked until 2008. In 2008, Canales became a part-time assistant coach for the Trail Blazers, followed by a full-time promotion in 2009. In 2010, Canales served as head coach of NBA Summer League.
Canales chance at head coaching began under interesting, to say the least, circumstances, when then Blazers head coach Nate McMillan was dismissed in March of 2012. Canales was selected as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2011-12 NBA season, coaching a total of 23 games and finishing with a 8-15 record.
My career has been like that quick. Ive just tried to stay humble, work hard and enjoy the process, Canales told the Laredo Morning Times earlier this year.
Hecky Noyola, Canales best friend, also told the Times, Canales has always been the hardest working guy and he does things 100 percent and the right way.
Canales reaches the final four of candidates having the most knowledge of the operations, systematics and personnel within the organization and has a resounding amount of support from LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and players top to bottom.