The University of Arkansas has announced the hiring of SMU coach Chad Morris to coach the Razorback football team. He’ll be paid $3.5 million a year (compared with the $4.2 million made by sixth-year coach Bret Bielema) and be eligible for other incentives in the six-year contract.

From the release:

The head coach at SMU the last three seasons after a four-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Clemson, Morris will be formally introduced on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor for Athletics Hunter Yurachek

“The future is tremendously bright at the University of Arkansas with the addition of Chad Morris. I am confident that Chad will bring an exciting brand of football, phenomenal student-athletes and championships to Fayetteville, and do it all with high integrity. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the incredible work of Julie Cromer Peoples in leading a comprehensive search and helping to bring a high caliber coach to Arkansas.”

University of Arkansas Chancellor Dr. Joseph E. Steinmetz

“We are thrilled to welcome Chad, Paula and their children to the Arkansas family. I enjoyed getting to know him and I am confident that he is the right coach to lead us back to competing for SEC and national titles. Julie Cromer Peoples did an outstanding job conducting the search in her interim role and on behalf of the Razorbacks everywhere, I say, ‘thank you’ to Julie. I am pleased that Hunter Yurachek had the opportunity to be involved in the final decision and offer and we cannot wait to have Chad leading our program.”

University of Arkansas Associate Vice Chancellor & Senior Associate Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples

“As we began our search for the next head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Chad Morris was a name that quickly emerged as someone that would be an excellent choice for our program. Coach Morris aligns with the priorities we sought to find in our next head football coach including relentless work ethic and the ability to maintain good relationships within our state and beyond to attract the nation’s top talent. Chad is demanding but still relatable to the student-athletes of this generation. He was identified by several closely connected with our program as someone that our state would embrace and would fit the fabric of our university and our program.”

Morris is known for high-octane offenses. He was offensive coordinator at Clemson before taking over at SMU three years ago. He spent 16 years as high school coach in Texas, where his teams were 169-38 and won back-to-back state championships in his last two years at Lake Travis High School.  He’s a Dallas native and a math major graduate of Texas A&M.

UPDATE: Here’s the UA offer letter to Morris, with more contract specifics.


It includes an annual $500,000 “retention” bonus every two years. It also includes this buyout provision should he be terminated (Bielema reportedly is getting $11.8 million).

The UA also agrees to pay up to $2 million to SMU if Morris is required to make a payment for leaving that job. It would be considered taxable income to him. The deal also includes two loaner cars, tickets to games, and private club memberships. He also could qualify for up to $1 million in annual bonuses for performance on the field that ended in an SEC and national championship and his winning national coach of the year. He can qualify for up to $200,000 in annual bonuses if his players meet academic performance and graduation benchmarks.