clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chad Morris reportedly leaving Clemson for SMU head coaching job

The country's highest-paid assistant coach lands his first top gig, back in the state of Texas.

Tyler Smith

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris will take over the head coaching job at SMU, according to multiple reports. The Mustangs job became open early in 2014, when program resurrector June Jones left after an 0-2 start.

Chip Brown reported Morris was expected to be the hire and that he had been waiting to see whether Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney would get the Florida job before deciding to leave for SMU. Larry Williams reported Sunday Morris has accepted the job.

Morris, 45, is considered a top offensive mind, running an offense similar to Gus Malzahn's at Auburn. (Our Ian Boyd explains it and calls it "the smashmouth spread.") He's also regarded as a solid recruiter and evaluator of talent, and he'll get to do it in a state where he's got plenty of connections. The Texas native coached in-state high schools for 15 years before spending a year under Todd Graham at Tulsa and then heading to Clemson.

Morris attended Texas A&M and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics prior to getting his coaching career off the ground.

In Morris' lone season at Tulsa in 2010, the Golden Hurricane ranked as one of the top offensive teams in the nation, averaging 41 points per game while going 10-3. That was enough to grab the attention of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who hired him to the same position in 2011. The Tigers took off offensively once Morris came to town, jumping from 52nd in the Offensive F/+ rankings to 21st in one season. The team was 41-11 during his four years in Clemson.

This isn't the first time Morris has tried to head back home. In December 2012, Morris interviewed for the Texas Tech head coaching gig, but was eventually passed over in favor of Kliff Kingsbury.

Football Study Hall on the idea of Morris taking over in Dallas:

The potential issues with Morris are two-fold. First of all, it will take some time before SMU has the OL necessary to execute Morris' vision for a power run game. It still hasn't even happened in Clemson. Secondly, he would be likely to see SMU as a great launching pad like Arkansas St to get a better gig and leave as soon as he tasted success. There are worse fates for the SMU program than becoming a launching pad for up and coming coaches but it's something to keep in mind.

Morris would be likely to quickly make a big, immediate splash in recruiting and is inventive enough a thinker to get some offensive results with SMU's roster in the short term while he builds an even better one.