The coaching carousel in the SEC has made its next stop, this time in Fayetteville. According to a report from Chris Low of ESPN, the Arkansas Razorbacks have hired SMU Mustangs head coach Chad Morris to fill the same role. The deal is for six years and $3.5 million annually, per college football reporter Bruce Feldman.
Arkansas has been looking for a head man ever since the program cut ties with Bret Bielema on Nov. 24. Bielema, who finished up his fifth season with the Razorbacks, trudged to a 4-8 record in 2017. He wound up posting a 29-34 overall clip and 11-29 mark in SEC play, coming to the program after a pit stop with Wisconsin.
Arkansas had been linked to Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, though he signed an extension to remain with the Tigers. Similarly, the Razorbacks were rumored to have Memphis headmaster Mike Norvell on deck after Malzahn, but Norvell also signed an extension to remain with his program.
Enter Morris, who led SMU to a 7-5 record in 2017 and a berth in the DXL Frisco Bowl against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
Morris was appointed in 2015 and got off to a dreadful start with the Mustangs, winning only two of SMU’s 12 games. He improved, finishing 5-7 a year ago before flipping that record this season.
Morris is an offensive-savvy coach who spent the 2010 season with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane as an offensive coordinator before moving on to Clemson as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The Mustangs under Morris accounted for 40.2 points per game this season, good for No. 8 in the country. SMU finished an even 4-4 in AAC play and got off to a 6-2 start before finishing 1-3 down the stretch.