College football

Arkansas names Chad Morris head coach

The Arkansas Razorbacks have hired SMU's Chad Morris to become their next head coach.

Morris' deal at Arkansas is in the $4 million range annually.

The 49-year-old Morris had a 14-22 record in three seasons rebuilding the program at SMU. The Mustangs went 2-10 in his first season in 2015, 5-7 in 2016 and 7-5 this season.

Morris played a key role in helping Clemson become a national power when he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2011 to 2014.

He takes over an Arkansas program that's struggled to find consistent success in the Southeastern Conference since the firing scandal-ridden coach Bobby Petrino following the 2011 season.

The Razorbacks went 4-8 in their first post-Petrino season in 2012 under interim coach John L. Smith, and they followed that by going 29-34 in five seasons under Bielema, including just 11-29 in the SEC. Arkansas is 33-42 overall following Petrino's firing, the school's worst six-year stretch since it went 22-38 from 1948-52.

Under Petrino, the Razorbacks had their best back-to-back seasons in the SEC since joining the league in 1992. They finished a combined 21-5 over the 2010-11 seasons and reached the Sugar Bowl in 2011 against Ohio State, and Bielema was expected to repeat that success when he was hired away from Wisconsin following the 2012 season.

However, after a steady rebuild of the program, Arkansas collapsed to end the Bielema era - losing 10 of his last 14 games ahead of his firing moments following a season-ending loss to Missouri.

Morris was hired after a nearly two-week coaching search that was led at times by interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples following the firing of athletic director Jeff Long on Nov. 15. Arkansas hired Houston athletic director Hunter Yurachek on Monday.

D1SportsNet



December 6, 2017