After a few days of speculation, SMU athletic director Rick Hart officially introduced Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris as the Mustangs’ new head coach on Monday.
The 45-year-old Morris is a Texas native who spent the past four seasons leading the Tigers’ offense under Dabo Swinney. Before that, he had a one-year stint as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator following 16 seasons as a head coach at five different high schools in the state of Texas.
"I'm excited about the future of SMU football, and my family is thrilled to be back in the state of Texas," Morris said in a statement. "I want to thank Dr. (R. Gerald) Turner, Rick Hart and the search committee for this opportunity. I have to say it was a difficult decision to leave my fellow coaches and our student-athletes at Clemson. I want to thank them for buying into our vision and helping us build something special. I would especially like to thank CoachSwinney. It was a great experience and something I'll always remember.”
During Morris’ time at Clemson, the Tigers went 41-11, won the 2011 ACC Championship and clinched four bowl berths, including two appearances in the Orange Bowl. Additionally, Morris’ offenses “established 127 offensive records” during his tenure and “posted the top three scoring seasons in school history,” according to a release from SMU.
"I only left that great situation (at Clemson) because I knew what we could accomplish at SMU,” Morris said. “I grew up watching SMU football. I know the history and I know we can be great again. I look forward to working with our student-athletes and staff, as well as my friends and former colleagues, the Texas high school coaches, as we work towards winning championships here on the Hilltop. I can't wait to get started."
As a high school coach, Morris compiled a 169-38 overall record and took six of his teams to Texas State Championship Games, winning three of them. He was also named Texas Coach of the Year 11 times.
"It is an honor and a pleasure to introduce Chad Morris as the Head Football Coach at SMU," said Hart. "His arrival on the Hilltop reinforces our commitment to compete at the highest level. Chad has earned an excellent reputation as a recruiter, a teacher and a leader. His character, integrity, passion, innovation, work ethic and competitiveness are valuable traits as we look to establish SMU as the best overall program in the American Athletic Conference.”
Morris’ hire comes less than three months after June Jones resigned two games into his seventh season with SMU. Tom Mason has filled in as interim coach in Jones’ absence. The Mustangs are 0-11 and have one game remaining against UConn on Saturday.
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