The University of North Texas has hired Washington State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eric Morris as its next head football coach.
UNT Vice President and Director of Athletics Jared Mosley said that Coach Morris’s championship pedigree, ability to develop players, and familiarity with the state of Texas were all critical factors in the decision to hire him.
“Among a deep and talented pool of candidates Eric distinguished himself with his great energy and strong track record as a championship head coach and a proven developer of talent,” Mosley said in a press release. “As a Texas native, he has deep relationships across the state, and he understands the importance of connecting with campus and the local community.”
Morris expressed his gratitude for the opportunity.
“I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity given to me by Jared Mosley and President Smatresk to lead UNT Football into a new era in [the American Athletic Conference]. As a native Texan, I understand the pride and standard of Mean Green football and I am humbled to be able to lead this storied program.”
Morris becomes the 20th head coach in program history, replacing Seth Littrell, who was fired on December 4 after a 7-6 season and a 48-27 loss to Texas-San Antonio in the Conference USA Championship game.
Littrell spent seven seasons with the Mean Green and finished with a 44-44 record with six bowl appearances but no bowl victories.
Morris comes to UNT after one year as the offensive coordinator at Washington State.
Before arriving in Pullman, Morris was the head coach at the University of Incarnate Word, a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school in San Antonio, for four seasons.
He helped lead the Cardinals to two Southland Conference titles, won Southland Conference Coach of the Year twice, and set the school record for wins.
Morris was also the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, orchestrating one of the most potent offenses in college football from 2013 to 2017. The Red Raiders averaged over 30 points per game and were among the national leaders in total offense.
Additionally, he was one of the coaches who helped recruit current Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes to Texas Tech.
Morris is a disciple of the late Mike Leach, having played for him as a wide receiver at Texas Tech from 2005 to 2008. He later joined Leach’s initial coaching staff at Washington State as an inside receivers coach in 2012.
Following in his former coach’s footsteps, Morris has had prolific offenses everywhere he has been.
During his most recent stint at Washington State, his offense led the PAC-12 in red zone offense, and he helped rebuild the running game through running backs, Nakia Watson and Jaylen Jenkins.
At Incarnate Word, he oversaw the development of quarterback Cam Ward and an offense that frequently ranked in the top 10 in total offense and even reached the top five in scoring.
Ward broke UIW school records as a passer in 2021 and was named Southland Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award. Ward followed his coach to Washington State and threw for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first season at the FBS (Football Bow Subdivision) level.
UNT is no stranger to explosive offenses. The Mean Green averaged 441 yards and 33.9 points per game this season. However, with a defense that ranks near the bottom in total yards and scoring, they have to score more often to start winning games.
The team will also move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference on July 1, 2023.
North Texas plays in the Frisco Bowl at Toyota Stadium against Boise State on Saturday, December 17. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bloesch will be the interim coach for the bowl game, and Morris will take over after.
UNT will officially introduce Coach Morris during a press conference in Denton on Tuesday, December 20, at 11:30 a.m.