It’s official. Chad Morris was named the 33rd head football coach in University of Arkansas history Wednesday. Here are five things you should know about the Hogs’ new head man.
1. Background – Born on December 4, 1968 in Edgewood, Texas, Morris attended Texas A&M University and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in statistics in 1992 but did not play college football. He and his wife, Paula, have two children, a daughter, Mackenzie, and son, Chandler. After 16 years as a head coach at the high school level in Texas, Morris entered the college ranks in 2010 as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator and associate head coach. He guided the offense to among the nation’s best, a big reason Tulsa improved from 5-7 in 2009 to 10-3 in 2010. Following the 2010 season he headed to Clemson as Dabo Swinney’s offensive coordinator from 2011-14. Morris went on to get his first head coaching job at SMU, where he spent the last three seasons.
2. Explosive Offense – In Morris’ eight seasons as either a head coach or offensive coordinator, his teams have racked up 46,975 yards of total offense for a 460.5 per game average. At least once at each of his three stops, he’s produced a top-10 offense a total of four times. Likewise, he’s produced an offense that’s averaged 40 or more points per game in four different seasons. Under Morris’ fast-paced, no-huddle spread attack, Clemson shattered 127 offensive records (89 individual; 38 team) from 2010-14. The Tigers also posted the top three scoring seasons in school history, as well as four of the program’s top five passing seasons, during that time. This season, SMU ranks among the top 15 in the FBS in scoring offense (40.2 points), total offense (493.8 yards) and passing yards (308 yards).
3. Turned It Around – During his three seasons at SMU (2015-17), Morris used his Texas recruiting roots and offensive prowess to take the Mustangs from a 1-11 campaign in 2013 before he took over to the program’s first bowl bid since 2012 with a 7-5 mark this season. Morris’ offensive scheme was exactly what SMU needed, as it increased its scoring output by 16.7 points per game – the second-largest increase in the nation in 2015. Even more impressive, Morris inherited an offense that ranked last (128th) in the FBS in scoring in 2014 (11.8) and turned it into the nation’s eighth-highest scoring offensive (40.1) in 2017.
4. Prominent Pupils – Morris was the primary recruiter for and aided in the development of former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, led the Tigers to a national title in 2017, and went on to become a first-round NFL draft pick by the Houston Texans. At Clemson, Morris also coached players like Tajh Boyd (drafted by the New York Jets), Andre Ellington (Arizona Cardinals), DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans), Sammy Watkins (Los Angeles Rams), Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh Steelers), Dwayne Allen (New England Patriots), Tyler Shatley (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Brandon Thomas (Jacksonville Jaguars).
5. Texas Ties – Morris became a legend in Texas during his 16 years as a head coach in the state. He won 82 percent of his games and led Lake Travis High School to back-to-back, undefeated (16-0) state championship seasons. He won three state titles overall and played in six state championship games. He totaled a 169-38 record (.816) and earned Coach of the Year honors 11 times.