Allen hires former SMU, Arkansas head coach Chad Morris as its next football coach
Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was first published.
The last two times Allen had an opening for a head football coach it turned to familiar faces. This time, the biggest school in Texas decided to make an outside hire — and a big one.
Chad Morris, the former head coach at SMU and Arkansas, will be the next head football coach at Allen, the district announced Wednesday morning on Twitter. Morris spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Auburn.
“I am honored to join Allen ISD and the Allen Eagles football program,” Morris said in a news release. “Allen High School is known throughout the state and nation for having a storied tradition of excellence in everything it does, and the football team is certainly included in that discussion. My roots run deep in Texas high school football, and I’m excited for the opportunity to get back to coaching young student-athletes and making an impression on their lives. As a coach, I’ll expect our students to work hard, but I want them to know that I care about their overall development as leaders both on and off the field. It’s my goal to establish a culture that can impact our student-athletes in a positive way, and I believe that will allow us to compete for championships on a consistent basis.”
The move means Morris will not only be back in the Dallas area, but close to his two children. His daughter, Mackenzie, is a recruiting operations coordinator for North Texas. His son, Chandler, transferred from Oklahoma to TCU this offseason. Chandler was the starting quarterback at Highland Park for two seasons. He led the Scots to a state championship in 2018 and was named The Dallas Morning News’ All-Area Offensive Player of the Year.
Morris replaces Terry Gambill, who announced his retirement on March 16 after five years as the head coach at Allen. Gambill, 59, was 65-4 at Allen, including a 16-0 record and Class 6A Division I state championship in 2017. He also reached the state semifinals in 2016 and 2018.
Flashback reading: Chad Morris went from sleeping in a field house to SMU’s head coach with a $1.6 million home and an epic man cave
Allen now has its next head coach, but it still doesn’t have a future athletic director. Steve Williams announced his retirement two days after Gambill did. He’s scheduled to stay on as athletic director through June. Williams spent 41 years inside Allen ISD, including the last 21 as the district’s athletic director.
Gambill was a defensive coordinator before he became the head coach at Waco Midway and ultimately the head coach at Allen. He replaced Tom Westerberg, who was also a coordinator at Allen before he became the Eagles head coach.
“The longer I spoke with Coach Morris, the more certain I became that he was the right person to lead the Allen Eagles football team,” Superintendent Robin Bullock said in a release. “Coach Morris is clearly passionate about coaching young athletes and helping them find success. His coaching record speaks for itself, and it’s also evident that he is a proven leader who focuses on building relationships with student-athletes, mentoring coaches, and promoting a positive culture throughout the program. When you mix integrity and doing the right thing with the desire to motivate students to be the best, great things will follow.”
Morris is expected to meet with the media Thursday.
Morris has plenty of experience coaching Texas high school football. Over 16 seasons he was 167-40. He won a state championship as the head coach of Bay City in 2000 and then won back-to-back state titles at Austin Lake Travis in 2008-09. In his last five seasons at Stephenville and Lake Travis he lost five games, none over the last two years.
After winning his second straight title at Lake Travis, Morris was hired on the staff at Tulsa. He became the offensive coordinator at Clemson before being hired as the head coach at SMU.
Morris went 14-22 at SMU, but went 7-5 in his final season there. He then became the head coach at Arkansas where he was 4-18 before being fired.
Allen’s job posting for a head football coach estimates an annual salary up to nearly $124,000 ($476.01 per day). At Arkansas, Morris signed a six-year deal worth roughly $3.5 million per year — a contract that Arkansas is still paying him as a part of a buyout. Last year, Morris signed a three-year deal to be Auburn’s offensive coordinator, but he wasn’t retained after longtime Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn — now the head coach at Central Florida — was fired.
Now Morris will head back to the high school ranks at arguably the biggest high school job in the country.
In 2010, Allen broke ground on Eagle Stadium. The $60 million stadium opened two years later. Allen has never lost a home game inside Eagle Stadium. The Eagles head into next season with a regular-season winning streak of 83 games. Under Morris, Allen will look to extend both of those streaks.
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