Former SMU head coach Chad Morris will now lead the Allen Eagles, one of the biggest high school football programs in the state, the school district announced Wednesday morning.
"Just excited to be a part of a storied program," Morris told NBC 5. "Not just in the state of Texas, but across the country."
In a prepared statement released by the district, Morris said he was honored to join the Eagles' program and the school's tradition of excellence.
"They're going to get everything I've got," Morris said. "We're going to give every ounce of our energy into being an Allen Eagle and being together, and the expectations are not going to change."
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But Chad Morris also spoke to how challenging the last few years have been when he was fired as the head coach at Arkansas and was fired as the offensive coordinator at Auburn, now back to his roots and he said he learned about himself through these difficult circumstances.
"I remember getting into a U-Haul truck, heading back this way, reflecting on what is important," Morris said. "Everything kept circling back to my family, (my son) Chandler and (my daughter) Mackenzie, being able to be part of their life. It's caused me to reflect."
Morris has 16 years of high school football head coaching experience and has three UIL State Championship titles under his leadership, the district said. During his last two years at the high school level, Morris led Lake Travis High School to back-to-back undefeated state-championship seasons.
"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," Morris said in a statement released by the district. "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 longer I spoke with Coach Morris, the more certain I became that he was the right person to lead the Allen Eagles football team,” Robin Bullock, Allen ISD Superintendent, said in the announcement. “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.”
"Coach Morris has proven himself time and again as an accomplished coach and respected leader, and he has reached high levels of success at both the high school and college ranks,” said Steve Williams, Allen ISD Athletic Director. “Coach Morris will do everything he can to best support our students and coaching staff. He brings a national network of college coaching contacts, and hopefully this will result in even more resources and opportunities for our student-athletes.”
Morris and his wife, Paula, have two children, Mackenzie and Chandler. He will begin working in the Allen ISD immediately.
Morris replaces Terry Gambill, who announced his retirement March 16 after five years as the head coach at Allen, The Dallas Morning News reported. Gambill, 59, had a record of 65-4 at Allen and led the Eagles to a 16-0 record and Class 6A Division I state championship in 2017. He also reached the state semifinals in 2016 and 2018.