FAYETTEVILLE, Ak (CBS Sports)- Arkansas needs a new coach ... again. The Razorbacks have fired head coach Chad Morris in the middle of his second season. The university announced a "change in leadership" on Sunday just 22 games into the Morris era. 5News in Fayetteville first reported the news and CBS Sports was able to confirm that Morris had been dismissed.
"As part of my continued evaluation, I have come to the conclusion that a change in leadership is necessary to move our football program forward and position it for success," athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. "It is clear that we have not made the progress necessary to compete and win, especially within the Southeastern Conference. Throughout our history in football, as well as with our other sport programs, we have demonstrated that the University of Arkansas is capable of being nationally competitive. I have no doubt that as we move forward, we will identify a head coach that will help lead our program to that benchmark.
"I want to express my personal and professional regard to Coach Morris and thank him for his investment in the lives of our student-athletes," Yurachek said.
Hogs tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. will serve as the interim head football coach for the remainder of the 2019 football season.
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The news comes on the heels of the Razorbacks' 45-19 loss to Western Kentucky on Saturday. The Hilltoppers, led by former Arkansas starting quarterback Ty Storey, raced out to a stunning 35-7 lead and never looked back.
The Razorbacks are 2-8 on the season and 4-18 overall since Morris took over the program two years ago. He's also winless (0-14) against SEC teams. Arkansas is 0-17 against the SEC dating back to 2017 with the last win coming against Ole Miss. That streak is bookended by another 0-13 run in conference play from 2013 and '14 under former coach Bret Bielema.
Arkansas only two victories of 2019 came against Portland State and Colorado State. They also lost to San Jose State this season and have a -139 point differential. The Hogs dropped games to Colorado State and North Texas in 2018 as well, totaling four losses to Group of Five teams in two years. In all, Morris is 18-40 as a college head coach at Arkansas and his prior stop, SMU. However, he was a wildly successful offensive coordinator at Clemson from 2011-14 under coach Dabo Swinney. He was also a Texas high school coaching legend with stops at Stephenville High School and powerhouse Lake Travis High School where he won back-to-back undefeated state championships in his final two seasons.
Morris is the third coach to be fired this season after Chris Ash at Rutgers and Willie Taggart at Florida State. Since Morris was fired before Dec. 1, he is owed a buyout just north of $10 million, according USA Today's most recent database. That buyout is to be paid in monthly installments until 2023, but is subject to be offset if he takes another job.