As previously reported, SMU will hire Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to be its next head coach. Morris is expected to be introduced on Monday.
The Dallas Morning News reports Morris has signed a contract worth $2 million per year, which would fall shy of the initial reports of up to $3 million. Regardless, Morris is getting a nice raise after being paid $1.3 million by Clemson to be the offensive coordinator under Dabo Swinney. Morris was the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach. That honor now looks to fall on Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who was being paid $1.15 million by Alabama according to a USA Today database of coaching salaries.
Morris will take over a massive project at SMU, but it is not one that should be viewed as impossible. Morris has plenty of connections throughout the state of Texas after having established himself as a successful high school coach in the state before moving to Tulsa and then Clemson. Texas is a state plentiful with football talent, but Morris has to start from scratch across the board. Success will likely come over the course of multiple seasons, and will not happen with the flip of a switch at SMU. Given some job security and time to let his plans come together though, Morris may be capable of showing SMU is capable of winning football games and even competing for the American Athletic Conference championship.
The biggest concern may be how long he stays in SMU. SMU will likely want Morris to stay as long as possible, but if he is successful and shows what he can do as a head coach in rebuilding the program, he could become a target for other programs down the line. While the idea of a coaching search two or three years down the road may not sound fascinating for SMU, if it is due to a change in direction for the program it may not be the worst possible path to travel. This could be a fantastic partnership between program and coach, one that could benefit both sides equally moving forward.