December 1, 2014
DALLAS (SMU) – Chad Morris has been named the Head Football Coach at SMU, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced Monday. Morris arrives on the Hilltop after five seasons as an offensive coordinator on the collegiate level and 16 seasons as a Texas high school coach.
“I’m excited about the future of SMU football, and my family is thrilled to be back in the state of Texas,” said Morris. “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 Coach (Dabo) Swinney. It was a great experience and something I’ll always remember.
“I only left that great situation because I knew what we could accomplish at SMU. 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.”
“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. We welcome Chad, Paula, Mackenzie and Chandler to the Mustang Family and back home to Dallas, Texas.
“I’d also like to thank President Turner and the members of our search committee for their dedication and support, as well as the various groups that provided input throughout this process. We would not have reached this point if not for their efforts.”
For the past four seasons, Morris has served as Offensive Coordinator at Clemson, helping the Tigers to a 41-11 record, the 2011 ACC Championship and four bowl berths, including two BCS Orange Bowl appearances. Clemson also posted three final top-25 rankings, including a top-10 finish in the final USA Today polls in 2012 and 2013. The Tigers are currently ranked 19th in the 2014 AP and USA Today polls. Clemson established 127 offensive records during his four years (89 individual/38 team) and posted the top three scoring seasons in school history, as well as four of the top five passing seasons in Clemson history. 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 by 247Sports.com in 2013, and the National Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals.com in 2011.
Among the players Morris tutored at Clemson were 2012 first-team All-American quarterback and ACC Player of the Year Tajh Boyd, 2012 first-team All-American center Dalton Freeman, 2012 third-team All-American wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and 2013 first-team All-American wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Sammy Watkins as well as NFLers Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts, Jaron Brown and Andre Ellington of the Arizona Cardinals, Martavis Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tyler Shatley of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Brandon Thomas of the San Francisco 49ers.
Clemson’s 2012 team set school records for total offense 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, and the 2013 offense averaged 507.7 yards and 40.2 points per game. Clemson and Baylor were the only FBS schools with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver every year from 2011-13.
(l. to r.)SMU President R. Gerald Turner, New SMU Head Football Coach Chad Morris, and SMU Athletic Director Rick Hart.
Morris went to Clemson after one season as Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach at Tulsa. After his arrival, Tulsa improved from 5-7 in 2009 to 10-3 in 2010, averaging 41.4 points per game, eighth-most in the nation, and scoring at least 28 points in 12 of its 13 games. Tulsa was fifth nationally in first downs (25.6) and tied for fifth in touchdowns scored from the red zone (46). His offense scored 64 touchdowns on scrimmage plays (32 rushing, 32 passing) and totaled 1,006 plays (537 rushes, 469 passes).
Prior to his stint at TU, Morris served as a head coach on the Texas prep level for 16 years, coaching at Eustace Independent School District (1994-97), Elysian Field ISD (1998-99), Bay City ISD (2000-02), Stephenville ISD (2004-07) and Lake Travis ISD (2008-09). Morris is a legend in the state after posting a 169-38 record overall and winning back-to-back undefeated state championships in his final two seasons as a prep coach. In all, Morris took six of his teams to Texas State Championship Games, with three of those teams capturing state titles, and earned Coach of the Year honors 11 times.
In his last two years in the prep ranks, Morris led Lake Travis High School to back-to-back undefeated 16-0 seasons as well as two Class 4A State Championships. Lake Travis was the state of Texas' top-ranked offense in both 2008 and 2009. The 2008 team was ranked second nationally by USA Today and eighth by Rivals.com, while the 2009 team ranked No. 2 nationally by Rivals.com and ninth by USA Today.
Morris' offenses enjoyed tremendous success in his two seasons at Lake Travis. In 2008, the Cavaliers averaged 49.0 points per game and had a 41-point margin of victory, while scoring 784 points, the fourth-most in Texas football history, and throwing for 305 yards per game. In that same 2008 campaign, Morris coached former Mustang great Garrett Gilbert, who was named the Gatorade and Parade Magazine National Player of the Year, while setting the state of Texas' single-season passing yardage mark with 4,884 yards and 55 touchdowns. Gilbert also rushed for 790 yards and 28 TDs that season.
In 2009, Lake Travis totaled 7,600 offensive yards for a 475-yard average. LTHS threw for 287.5 yards and scored 44.0 points per game, while defeating opponents by an average of 34 points a game. The Cavaliers put up 4,600 passing yards and 46 TDs, with just seven interceptions.
Before compiling a 32-0 record in his two seasons at Lake Travis, Morris posted a five-year mark of 49-10 at Stephenville High School, where he implemented a hurry-up, no-huddle offense in 2004. At Stephenville, Morris tutored former Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead. Snead started the 2004 and 2005 seasons under Morris' tutelage and rushed for 1,053 yards in his senior season. After Snead, Morris coached quarterback Kody Spano, who later played collegiately at Nebraska. Spano threw for over 2,900 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a senior in 2007.
Before moving to Stephenville, Morris' teams registered a three-year record of 34-8 at Bay City High School, while playing for the state championship twice (2000 & 2001) and winning the crown in 2000 with a 14-1 record. At Bay City, Morris coached quarterbacks Andrew Smith (2000) and Scott Elliott (2001-02). Smith went on to play at North Texas where he led the Mean Green to a Bowl Game in his freshman season, while Elliott played collegiately at Tulane.
Morris' Elysian High School teams advanced to the state championship game in each of his two seasons as the head coach, while posting a 26-6 two-year record. His first team in 1998 compiled a 12-4 record, while the 1999 team compiled a 14-2 mark.
Morris received his first coaching position at Eustace High School as the quarterbacks coach in 1992-93, before taking over as head coach in 1994, leading the school to an 11-1 record in his final season of four years as the head coach. At Eustace, Morris also served as the head boys’ basketball coach for four seasons (1993-97) and posted a record of 128-32.
Morris earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in statistics from Texas A&M University in 1992.
Born Dec. 4, 1968, the Dallas, Texas native and his wife, Paula, have two children, daughter Mackenzie and son Chandler.