Chad Morris Values Character Over Everything – Op Ed

Since arriving on the Hilltop Chad Morris has preached family.

Morris leads by humility. His program is one that cultivates a family atmosphere. From the families of players, to team dinners at coaches houses, to group activities, all things that most division 1 programs do.

The difference is the message that Morris lives, not the words that come out of his mouth. That’s what keeps players like NFL rookie Deshaun Watson coming back to spend time with Morris and his family.

In college football, administrators, fans and donors demand immediate success. But with a coach like Morris, those individuals must be willing to be patient.

While some coaches are willing to sacrifice character for talent, Morris demands and searches for both.

The type of program that Morris is building and has built mimics the same one that he had a hand in building at Clemson – a tedious, patient process that is built on relationships and character over talent.

In the long run however, that is the type of program colleges should be seeking. A Clemson style program, one that after three years of Morris being gone continues to be an offensive super power. And although he wasn’t coaching the game, on the offensive side of the ball, Morris played a huge role in Clemson’s national championship last year.

Morris’ approach and the approach of his staff highlights the importance of embracing the past but living in the present. In the post game press conference after Saturday’s win at home against Arkansas State Morris said, “This is the bridge, this football team is the bridge. These last 33 months are the bridge that connects the past to the future. I knew it was a process and I knew coming that it was going to be very tough, but were not done yet, by no means. Our message to our players is if we’re not the bridge then who is?”

On the way to understanding Morris’ bridge analogy it is important to buy into his message, his ethos.

“Be present not perfect, that means just live in the moment, enjoy this moment together and what we’re building here.” Morris said.

So far, Morris is in his first winning season on the hilltop. At 3-1 on the season, the Mustangs have only lost to TCU, a tough but admirable game considering that TCU is now ranked in the top 10.

However, for Morris this is just the beginning. [This was the] “Most critical week since I’ve been here,” Morris said referencing the week between their loss at TCU and their win against Arkansas State.

Coming off a demoralizing defeat against TCU, Morris’ message for his team remained the same as it has been all season.

“Focus this week, fight this week, and finish empty.” He said.

The Mustangs are far from perfect or finished, but for the first time since Morris arrived on the hilltop SMU appears poised for a breakout season, to include a winning record and a bowl game.

But even if the Mustangs fall short, the program that Coach Morris has built is one to be admired…I say this first hand, as someone who has interacted with players and staff up close.

Coach Morris’ brand of football is a brand that anyone can be a fan of.

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