Razorbacks hire SMU’s Chad Morris as head football coach

Image: ArkansasRazorbacks.com

University of Arkansas has their man. The UA on Wednesday announced the hiring of SMU head coach Chad Morris as its latest head football coach.

Morris signed a six-year deal to lead the Hogs worth $3.5 million per year. He will also be eligible for “additional compensation through retention payments and incentives,” according to a news release issued by the UA Wednesday.

The news comes just two days after Arkansas hired Hunter Yurachek as its athletics director from Houston, and three days after Auburn coach Gus Malzahn turned down an overture from Arkansas for the head coaching job that has been vacant since Nov. 24.

Morris, 49, is a legendary figure in Texas as a high school football. He spent two weeks in Northwest Arkansas studying Malzahn’s hurry-up, no-huddle offense. He coached 16 seasons at Texas high schools and won three state titles. Two of those titles came while he was at Lake Travis High School, located 20 miles outside of Austin.

Morris broke into college coaching as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa in 2010, two seasons after his mentor Malzahn held the role. In 2011 Clemson hired Morris away from Tulsa. Clemson’s recent championship-caliber run in the ACC began with Morris at the offensive controls and when he left for SMU, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney elected to promote Tony Elliot from within. Elliott won the Broyles Award Tuesday in Little Rock, which is given to season’s top assistant coach as voted by a distinguished panel of former coaches.

Morris moved from Clemson to take over the beleaguered SMU program in 2015. His overall record at SMU was just 14-22, but the Mustangs went 7-5 this season and earned a bid to the Frisco Bowl.

Morris is known for his aggressiveness as a play-caller and for lighting up the scoreboard.