FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Arkansas hired Chad Morris of SMU as its new soccer coach, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
Morris, 49, accepted a six-year contract, according to the person who spoke on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced.
Morris leaves the Mustangs after compiling a 14-22 in three seasons. He took over a team that finished 1-11 in 2014, won two games in his first season and improved to 5-7 in 2016 and 7-5 this year.
The Texas native was a long-time high school trainer in the state before beginning his college career as an offensive coordinator in Tulsa in 201
Morris had signed a three-year extension with SMU until 2023 after last season.
He takes charge of an Arkansas program that has struggled to find steady success at the Southeast Conference since trainer Escorted by the scandal, Bobby Petrino, followed the 2011 season.
The Razorbacks were 4-8 in their first post-Petrino season in 2012 under interim coach John L. Smith, and they went on to a 29-34 record in five seasons under Bielema, including only 11-29 in SEC. Arkansas has a 33-42 mark overall after the dismissals of Petrino, the worst period of six years since it went 22-38 from 1948-52.
Under Petrino, the Razorbacks had their best consecutive seasons in the SEC since they joined the league in 1992. They finished with a combined 21-5 in the 2010-11 seasons and came to the Sugar Bowl in 2011 against Ohio State . , and Bielema was expected to repeat that success when he was hired away from Wisconsin after the 2012 season.
However, after a constant reconstruction of the program, Arkansas collapsed to end the Bielema era, losing 10 of its last 14 games before its launch moments after a season-ending loss to Missouri .
Morris was hired after a nearly two-week coaching search led at times by interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples following the firing of athletic director Jeff Long on November 15. Arkansas hired Houston sports director Hunter Yurachek on Monday.
The Razorbacks were believed to have an interest in Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, a former high school coach in Arkansas, but he agreed to a seven-year extension with the Tigers on Sunday.
Now they have another former high school coach known for his offensive prowess. Morris spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas and went 32-0 and won a pair of state titles in his only two seasons at Lake Travis in the Austin area.
"I'm a high school football coach from Texas, that's what I am," said Morris, a Dallas native, when he was hired at SMU in 2014. "I think the high school soccer coaches of Texas do it the right way. "