Few names carry as much respect in Texas football circles as Chad Morris.
Before the current SMU head coach was turning heads as offensive coordinator at Tulsa and Clemson he was the most revered head coach in Texas high school football. Boasting an all-time 169-38 record as a high school coach, Morris won consecutive state championships at Lake Travis High School.
Despite enjoying runaway career success, Morris hasn’t lost touch with his roots. Morris maintains an open door policy for any Texas high school coaches that would like to dip into his office to talk football or take in a practice. Needless to say, Morris’ genuine relationship-based approach to recruiting and coaching makes him easy to root for. It also makes him the perfect man to clean up the repugnant mess left behind by Art Briles.
By all accounts, Morris is an upstanding man who has avoided any type of scandal throughout his career. His shining reputation would help to rebuild state-wide perception of Baylor as Morris works to institute a locker room culture committed to citizenship and respect for women.
It won’t be an easy task. Baylor is expected to only have around 50 scholarship athletes remaining on the roster after this season and the Bears have just two commitments in their recruiting class at this point of time. Whoever gets this job will be working restless hours to maximize the program’s number of available scholarships. If Morris is afforded the opportunity, he’ll be able to bring over many of his current recruits at SMU while leveraging his deep coaching connections in Texas to make his way into the living rooms of the best athletes in the state.
Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades recently told the Waco Tribune that the University will be looking for a coach that matches their current offensive brand (check) with extensive connections to Texas high school football programs (check).
Zach Barnett at Football Scoop has reported that Baylor is “zeroing in” on Morris, although both Baylor and Morris deny that an agreement is currently in place. That may be true but this pairing feels too perfect not to happen. Baylor would be wise to make this hire official as soon as Sunday to give Morris and his staff as much time as possible to hit the recruiting trail. We may see a situation similar to Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State where Baylor is granted a waiver to allow Morris to begin officially recruiting for Baylor while Grobe and his staff remain on payroll preparing the Bears for their bowl game.
While Morris has done a great job at rebuilding the mess June Jones left behind at SMU, the Mustangs shouldn’t fret too much at the prospect of him leaving for another program. Morris had a reported $3 million buyout clause in his contract which should help SMU hire his replacement. Morris was already making $2 million per year at SMU so candidates know they’ll be earning a highly competitive salary.
With a $150 million facility upgrade on the way and unrivaled access to the most lucrative recruiting hot bed in the world, coaches should be lining up in SMU athletic director Rick Hart’s office the minute Chad Morris announces his next move.