SMU was the first school to have a head coaching opening in 2014, and it appears it will be the first school to fill one.
Multiple reports have indicated the Mustangs are on the verge of hiring Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to become the program's next head coach, with a deal possibly being announced as soon as next week.
A Clemson affiliate of 247Sports.com was the first to link Morris's name to the SMU job, with Scout reporter Chip Brown saying a deal is in place to hire Morris for as much as $3 million a year. USA Today contacted SMU athletic director Rick Hart and reported no deal is in place, but sources told the paper the school is zeroing in on Morris.
In a text message to TheClemsonInsider, Morris, 45, denied reports that he had taken the job and said he was only focused on the Tigers' rivalry game against South Carolina on Saturday.
Former Atlanta Falcons head coach June Junes stepped down as SMU's coach in early December after an 0-2 start. He went 36-43 at the school but is widely credited with turning around the program and leading it to four straight bowl games after a postseason drought at the school that dated back to 1984.
SMU is the only winless FBS team in college football with just one game remaining, but the job is considered to be one of the most attractive openings in the sport this year because of its location in the talent-rich Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex and place in the American Athletic Conference.
A Texas native, Morris went to school at Texas A&M and won three state titles as a longtime successful high school coach in the state. He won several offensive coordinator of the year awards during his time at Clemson and Tulsa and is highly regarded for his up-tempo spread offense that made stars out of quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins, among others in recent seasons.
Morris has been in the mix for several other head coaching jobs over the years but previously opted to return to Clemson, where he has been the highest-paid coordinator in the country the past two seasons after making roughly $1.3 million a year.
Come December, however, it appears Morris is well on his way to having a new job, a new home and even a pay raise.