Chad Morris, who coached the Bay City High School for three seasons and led the Blackcats to a state title in 2000, continued his fast climb among the coaching ranks by being named the head coach at the University of Arkansas on Thursday.
Morris was recently the head coach at SMU, leading the Mustangs to an 11-24 record. He turned a 1-11 team in 2013 to a 7-5 team this season at SMU. His offense was eighth in the country in scoring, averaging 40.7 points per game.
The 48-year-old Morris agreed to a six-year deal worth $21 million.
“It’s been a wild ride. It’s a very exciting time for me and my family and the journey that we’re about to be on,” Morris told ArkansasRazorbacks.com on his way to Fayetteville on Wednesday.
Morris grew up in the Dallas area and graduated from Texas A&M in 1992. After working his way up the high school coaching ranks, Morris became the head coach at Bay City and immediately made an impact.
Morris led the Blackcats to a 34-8 record from 2000 to 2002, including a 13-1 record in 2000 and a 4A Division I state title after beating Denton Ryan 24-2 at Texas Stadium in Irving. With his highflying offense, Morris was able to get a handful of Bay City players on those teams to NCAA Division I programs.
Morris’ success in Texas high school football continued with a five-year stint at Stephenville, then taking the head job at Lake Travis in 2008, leading the Cavaliers to back-to-back 5A Division I state titles.
Morris’ first collegiate job came in 2010 when he was the offensive coordinator at Tulsa. The next year, he took the same position at Clemson, where he helped the Tigers go 41-11 in four years there, averaging over 40 points per game in 2012 and 2013.
Morris developed NFL talent at Clemson, helping seven wide receivers under him to be drafted, including DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans. He also recruited Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to go to Clemson.
“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.”
Yurachek tabbed Morris just days after leaving the University of Houston to take the same position at Arkansas.