The list of former high school head coaches that are now leading FBS programs seems to get longer year after year. The past few years the list has included big names like Art Briles, Hugh Freeze, and Gus Malzahn, and the 2014-2015 hiring cycle saw the additions of Tony Sanchez (Bishop Gorman HS to UNLV), and Chad Morris (SMU).
Morris, one of the latest additions of the Texas high school head coaching fraternity turned FBS head coach, spoke with Bruce Feldman on his weekly podcast yesterday about the rise of former high school coaches in the profession, and Morris explained the reason behind the trend as simple” (beginning at the 14:31 mark).
“The answer is simple, and here it is; because as a high school coach ‘you get it.'” Morris explains.
“There are several things that I had to do as a high school coach. #1 is I always had to recruit. I had to recruit kids to going straight basketball. I had to recruit kids from going straight baseball or going straight to AAU. So I’m constantly having to recruit kids back to my program.”
“I had to get up in the mornings and head down to the transportation department and sit down with the bus maitenance people and drink a cup of coffee with them, and let them know that their job is just as important as my job. I wanted them to feel that I need their service. I need the best bus on a Friday night to haul kids across the state, cause if not, I’m stuck in old bus 33 that might make it, or might not make it. But they may get me in bus 1 if they know ‘Hey, coach Morris really cares about us’ and brings us a hat or something.”
“Not only that, but I also had to sit down in the cafeteria and have lunch with the faculty because they have to realize that I’m here for the best benefit of this student athlete, and that faculty member has to know that coach Morris cars about what goes on in Ms. Sally’s English class, and knows that if ole Chandler acts up in Ms. Sally’s English class, not only is Ms. Sally going to get after him, but coach Morris with the football program is going to help take care of it. So she feels important, and she has ownership.”
“It’s all about…I’ve got to make you, Bruce, feel like you’re just as much a part of the success on this football field as I am as a head coach, and if I can get you to think that you’re important – because you are – then I’m going to get everything you’ve got.”
“That’s why you see guys like Gus, Hugh, Art, Beaty get it. They get it. It’s about relationships. That’s what this whole thing is about.”
Morris went on to note that during his five years coaching in college, many people would come up and rave about his system and offensive scheme, and he would tell them; “Listen I’ll talk all the ball you want to talk, but you’re losing the point. It’s more than that.”
“That kid will be successful running the wishbone if he believes in you. If he doesn’t believe in you, you can put him in the shotgun all you want…it’s whatever. I’m just telling you. It’s about relationships.”
Hear the whole interview below.