FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas has hired SMU head football coach Chad Morris.
Morris, who was offensive coordinator at Tulsa University in 2010, is the 33rd head coach in Arkansas football history.
Morris agreed to a six-year contract and will make $3.5 million annually. He will also be eligible for additional pay through retention payments and incentives.
“The future is tremendously bright at the University of Arkansas with the addition of Chad Morris,” said Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek. “I am confident that Chad will bring an exciting brand of football, phenomenal student-athletes and championships to Fayetteville, and do it all with high integrity.”
After 16 years as a head coach on the Texas prep level, Morris’ collegiate debut came as the associate head coach/offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010. In his one season as offensive coordinator working specifically with the quarterbacks,
Morris helped the Golden Hurricane average 41.4 points per game, good for sixth nationally, and finish with seven straight wins for a 10-3 record following a 5-7 mark in 2009. Tulsa scored 40 or more points seven times, including 50+ in four games, and finished as one of five FBS teams with over 30 rushing and 30 passing touchdowns.
University of Arkansas Chancellor Dr. Joseph E. Steinmetz said, “We are thrilled to welcome Chad, Paula and their children to the Arkansas family. I enjoyed getting to know him and I am confident that he is the right coach to lead us back to competing for SEC and national titles.”
During his three seasons at SMU (2015-17), Morris took 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 increased the team’s scoring output by 16.7 points per game in his first season – 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 offense (40.1) in 2017.
The 2017 SMU offense marked the fourth time and third different program that Morris has either been the head coach or offensive coordinator of that has finished in the top 10 in the FBS in scoring average at more than 40 points per game. The Mustangs are one just two FBS teams that featured a 3,000-yard passer, 1000-yard rusher and multiple 1,000-yard receivers in 2017.
Morris’ impact during his four years at Clemson as offensive coordinator helped result in a 41-11 record, the 2011 ACC Championship and four bowl berths, including two BCS Orange Bowl appearances. Under Morris’ scheme, the Tigers established 127 offensive records (89 individual/38 team) and posted the top three scoring seasons in school history, as well as four of the top five passing seasons at Clemson.
The Clemson offense in its second season under Morris with ACC Player of the Year Tajh Boyd at quarterback set school records for total yards per game (512.7) and points per game (41.0), ranking sixth in the nation in scoring and ninth in the nation in total offense.
For his work, Morris was named AFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year and one of five finalists for National Offensive Coordinator of the Year.
A native of Dallas, Morris posted a 169-38 record overall and winning back-to-back undefeated state championships in his final two seasons at Lake Travis High School. Over his 16 seasons, Morris led six of his teams to the Texas State Championship game, highlighted by three titles, and he earned Coach of the Year honors 11 times.
Morris earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in statistics from Texas A&M University in 1992. He and his wife, Paula, have two children, daughter Mackenzie and son Chandler.
2010 – Tulsa associate head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterback coach
2011-14 – Clemson offensive coordinator/quarterback coach
2015-2017 – SMU head coach
Head coaching record – 14-22 (SMU)