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SMU officially hires Morris

Chad Morris knew he wanted the SMU job the minute it opened.

Maybe it was because Clemson’s offensive coordinator from the past four seasons is a Dallas native. Or maybe because he used to ride school buses to old Texas Stadium and watch the Mustangs play when he was growing up.

“This is the opportunity I thought, ‘This is it,’ ” Morris said Monday at an introductory news conference on campus, surrounded in a rotunda by administrators, players and SMU’s Hall of Fame basketball coach, Larry Brown. “This could be the one.”

Morris, 45, spent 16 years as a high school coach in Texas, going 169-38 at five schools.

“You’re going to see an exciting brand of football,” Morris said. “We’re going to be one of the biggest turnarounds in college football before this is over with. But it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Finding a quarterback will be Morris’ first priority. The Mustangs have had four different starters this season in Garrett Krstich, Matt Davis, Neal Burcham and Kolney Cassel.

“That’s top on our list in recruiting,” Morris said. “That’s top on our list in development in the spring. And that’ll be the same thing next year as we talk.”

Meacham a finalist

Doug Meacham, co-offensive coordinator at TCU, is among the five finalists for the Broyles Award, which is given annually to the top assistant coach in college football.

Other finalists are Lane Kiffin of top-ranked Alabama, Scott Frost of third-ranked Oregon, Tom Herman of sixth-ranked Ohio State, and Missouri’s Dave Steckel.

The award is named after former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, who developed some of the more successful assistant coaches in the country.

The award is presented by the Rotary Club of Little Rock, Ark. Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi won last year.

Lewis not returning

TCU volleyball coach Prentice Lewis will not return next season, athletics director Chris Del Conte said.

Lewis just completed her 13th season at TCU. She was 14-34 in conference play since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 three seasons ago. She was 245-174 at TCU.

Briefly

• Michigan football: Coach Brady Hoke will meet with interim athletic director Jim Hackett on Tuesday and learn his future with the program. Hoke is 31-20 in four seasons at Michigan, including 5-7 this year.

• Buffalo football: Lance Leipold, who was 106-6 in eight seasons at Wisconsin-Whitewater and won five Div. III national titles, was introduced as coach. He succeeds Jeff Quinn.

• Tulsa football: Bill Blankenship was fired just three days after the Golden Hurricane wrapped up a 2-10 year, its second consecutive losing season. He went 19-8 in his first two seasons, including a C-USA title in 2012.

• Big Ten football: The 14 conference schools drew a combined attendance of 6,359,218 for home games this season, topping the previous high of 6,061,514 set last season when there were only 12 teams.

• UAB football: Scores of students, alumni and athletes marched to the administration building at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and rallied for hours in response to reports that officials will shut down the football program which is bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.

• Florida football: A week after starting its coaching search to replace Will Muschamp, Florida is already shooting down reports. The Gators released a statement refuting reports that athletic director Jeremy Foley has offered the job to anyone. Among those said to be up for the job are Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze, Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

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