CLEMSON — Clemson coaches, players and fans can exhale – it appears Chad Morris is hanging around a while longer.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced Wednesday evening that he had hired Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury as the Red Raiders’ new head coach, ending Morris’ candidacy for the position.
Hocutt flew into Anderson Regional Airport Tuesday and interviewed Morris for over two hours for the position – he had just been in Houston, interviewing Kingsbury.
Kingsbury, 33, a former Tech star quarterback, becomes one of the youngest head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. His final collegiate game? A 55-15 rout of Clemson in the 2002 Tangerine Bowl.
Morris, 44, has significant ties to the state of Texas, including 16 years as a high school head coach. He just finished his third season as a collegiate offensive coordinator. Since arriving at Clemson two years ago, he has revitalized the Tigers’ offense. Entering New Year’s Eve’s Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown with LSU, Clemson is in the top 13 in total offense, scoring offense and passing offense.
He has not spoken with reporters formally since Nov. 24’s 27-17 loss to South Carolina.
Following Clemson’s bowl practice Tuesday, he walked past waiting reporters with wide receivers coach Jeff Scott.
“How you guys?” Morris asked. “Everyone good?”
Earlier Wednesday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the Tech job was “a dream opportunity” for Morris, and he supported him fully.
“Hopefully all this stuff will resolve itself one way or the other,” Swinney said.
Morris has had a busy offseason. He interviewed for the N.C. State head coaching opening that went to Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren, reportedly interviewed for the Auburn head position that went to mentor Gus Malzahn, and received interest from South Florida, denying that he was interviewing for the position (USF hired Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart).
He makes $1.3 million annually as the highest-paid assistant in college football.