It’s official: Arkansas’ new coach is SMU’s Chad Morris

Chad Morris
Andrew Dieb/USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas has its new head hog.

The school announced Wednesday that is has hired SMU’s Chad Morris as coach.

When Arkansas fired Bret Bielema on the day the Hogs’ season ended – heck, they may have fired him as the season ended – speculation was that Auburn’s Gus Malzahn would be at the top of the list of possible replacements.

But with Malzahn signing an extension with the Tigers, Arkansas had to move on. First, the school needed to hire an athletic director. It did that Monday, hiring Hunter Yurachek away from Houston. Now Morris on board as well.

Footballscoop.com – a coach-centric website – says Morris would target Clemson’s Brent Venables as his defensive coordinator. The two are close from Morris’ days as a Clemson assistant.

Morris is a spread-offense proponent who was offensive coordinator at Clemson for four seasons before taking over at SMU following the 2014 season. SMU was 1-11 in 2014; the Mustangs have gone 2-10, 5-7 and 7-5 under Morris, and SMU will be bowling this season for the first time since 2012. SMU ranks 13th nationally in total offense (493.8 yards per game) and eighth in scoring offense (40.2 points per game).

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Morris, who turned 49 on Monday, was a successful Texas high school coach for 16 seasons, going 169-38 at five high schools. He was hired as Tulsa’s OC in 2010 from his job as coach at Austin’s Lake Travis High.

His extensive ties in Texas should be a boon to Arkansas’ recruiting efforts in the state.

Morris was said to be a candidate at Tennessee before John Currie was removed as athletic director.

Arkansas was one of six SEC jobs to come open this offseason. One remains open — Tennessee’s.

(You can follow Mike Huguenin on Twitter @MikeHuguenin)

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