National search for program's first coach of FBS era underway.
Darren Thellen logged a pair of interceptions for a second straight week, at Delaware.
Kevin Morris enters his second season at the helm of the UMass football program after spending five seasons as the offensive coordinator. In his first season as head coach at UMass, Morris led the Minutemen to a strong start including a huge win over then-No. 4 New Hampshire on Oct. 17.
Following the season, UMass had its highest NFL Draft pick in more than 40 years as All-American offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets. Five other UMass seniors from the class of 2009 signed as NFL free agents for 2010 training camps.
Jan. 19, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. - In looking to continue the most successful period in UMass football history, Athletic Director John McCutcheon has announced the promotion of Kevin Morris to head football coach at the University of Massachusetts. Morris has spent the last five years as the offensive coordinator of the Minutemen as UMass has experienced the winningest five-year period in program history from 2004-08. Morris replaces Don Brown, who departed UMass on Jan. 9 to take over as the defensive coordinator at the University of Maryland.
"We are thrilled to have Kevin Morris leading our football program into the future," said McCutcheon. "Kevin has been and integral part of our success over the last five years. He will lead the program with the integrity and class that we expect at UMass. He will be a fine representative of the department and the University. Kevin will bring an energy and new vision to the program that will reenergize it and put us in great position for years to come."
"First I want to thank Chancellor Holub and Athletic Director John McCutcheon for this opportunity to run the UMass football program," said Morris. "I am very excited for the chance to lead an outstanding program that has such a rich winning tradition. We have had great success under Don Brown for the last five years and I look forward to continuing the winning ways."
Over the last five years, UMass has posted a 43-19 overall record for a 69.3 win percentage. The Minutemen have won 30 of 40 conference games including winning two conference championships, the 2006 Atlantic 10 title and the 2007 CAA crown. Both squads advanced to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the 2006 title game and 2007 quarterfinals. With Morris running the offense, the Minutemen have set more than 40 school and individual records on offense. Morris has worked directly with Walter Payton Award candidates in each of the last four seasons in quarterback Liam Coen and tailback Steve Baylark.
Over the last five years, UMass has had 10 All-Americans and 63 All-Conference selections including 36 on the offensive side of the ball under Morris' tutelage including a league-best first-team selections this past season in 2008.
Under Morris UMass developed a high-powered offense averaging nearly 30 points and 400 yards of total offense per game over the past five seasons. All-American quarterback Liam Coen set nearly ever passing record in school history over the last four years and graduated among the top 15 passing leaders in FCS history in yards and completions. After his senior season, Coen was first among all active passers in FCS in terms of touchdown passes and second in passing yards, completions and attempts.
In 2008, the Minutemen posted a 7-5 record, the fifth time in five years they posted a winning record and finished among the top 40 in the NCAA in total offense (385.4), passing offense (242.6) and scoring offense (28.8). UMass scored more than 40 points on three occasions. The Minutemen finished second in the NCAA in fewest sacks allowed.
Two seasons ago in 2007, UMass set a program mark for total yards per game with 401.5. Coen went on to set every career passing record in 2007 as he became the all-time leader in passing yardage, completions, attempts and touchdowns. Coen had the two most prolific passing games in school history in the NCAA playoffs with 421 and 419 yards in back-to-back games. The Minutemen averaged 31.0 points per game in 2007, the most in nearly a decade. The Minutemen opened the season scoring more than 35 points in the first four games and more than 32 in each of the first five against FCS opponents. UMass racked up 49 points and 649 yards of total offense in the NCAA Quarterfinal win over Fordham. That yardage mark stands second all-time in UMass annals.UMass had a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in school history in All-CAA selections J.J. Moore (1,100) and Rasheed Rancher (1,007). Tailback Matt Lawrence gained close to 1,600 yards on the ground in earning all-league honors as well.
The Minutemen were one of the high-powered offenses in the nation in 2006 as they made a run to the National Championship game and claimed the Atlantic 10 Championship with a school-record 13-2 record. Morris has tutored Coen into one of the nation's best. Coen led the nation in pass efficiency for most of 2006 and finished sixth with a mark of 160.52. He threw for 3,016 yards the third-most in a season at UMass and his 26 touchdown passes also ranked third in a single-season in UMass' history.
Under Morris' guidance, UMass averaged close to 28 points per game in 2006 including three 40-point performances, the most since 1998. The Minutemen also piled up more than 450 yards of total offense on six occasions including five in a row in the middle of their school-record 12-game win streak.
UMass finished 12th in the nation in total offense with more than 383 yards per game and sixth in pass efficiency. On the offensive side, Morris headed up nine all-conference performers led by tailback Steve Baylark, who led the A-10 in rushing and became the third player in I-AA/FCS history to game 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons. Baylark gained most of those 5,332 career yards behind all-conference players Alex Miller, David Thompson and Matt Austin. Those linemen led Baylark and protected Coen as UMass led the conference in fewest sacks allowed for the third year in a row.
In 2005, Morris worked with Coen as he emerged as one of the Atlantic 10's most efficient passers taking over for Tim Day. Coen, an A-10 three-time Rookie of the Week, finished with 2,175 yards, the second-most by a first-year quarterback in UMass history and sixth-best in a season, all-time. Morris' offensive line was the top in the A-10 in terms of fewest sacks allowed, just 11 in 11 games. Baylark once again was named to the A-10 First Team as he gained 1,057 yards to rank third in the A-10.
In his first year at UMass (2004), Morris' offense led the nation in fewest sacks per pass attempt, giving up just nine as the line protected Day, who produced one the best seasons for a UMass signal caller. Day, posted the fifth-best passing yardage season in Minuteman history, throwing for 2,481 yards along with 23 touchdowns, third-most in a UMass season. Day also posted the most efficient single-game in history, completing 17-of-19 in the season opener at Delaware State. Baylark came on late in the season to lead the Atlantic 10 in rushing with 1,138 yards earning first-team all-conference honors.
Morris came to UMass from Northeastern University, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for four seasons (2000-03), making the move with Brown to UMass in 2004.
During his time on Brown's staff at Northeastern, Morris directed one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the Atlantic 10 Conference, breaking 24 school offensive records in four years. During the 2003 season, the Huskies led the Atlantic 10 Conference in total offense with an average of 431.8 yards per game, while ranking second in scoring offense with an average of 34.5 points per contest and posting an overall record of 8-4.
A year earlier, in 2002, Morris' offense led the Atlantic 10 Conference with an average of 31.0 points per game, setting a new school scoring record. The Huskies also averaged 207.0 rushing yards per game in 2002, to rank second in the Atlantic 10 and 19th in the nation. During the 2002 campaign, Morris helped lead Northeastern to an overall record of 10-3, a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference title and the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs.
Prior to his time at Northeastern, Morris served as the offensive coordinator at Stony Brook in 1999, helping the Seawolves to a 5-5 record in their inaugural season of competition at the Division I-AA level. He was also the head coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 1993-1998, leading the team to a 24-32 overall record. Morris' 1993 team won the Freedom Football Conference title with a perfect 5-0 mark in league games. He guided the Engineers to two winning seasons in his six years as head coach.
During the 1991 and 1992 seasons, Morris worked at Union College, where he served as the defensive coordinator in 1992 and the secondary coach in 1991. Morris was also the head coach of the Union lacrosse team in 1991, guiding the team to an 8-5 record and a berth in the ECAC Playoffs. He was previously the defensive coordinator at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1990, helping lead the team to an 8-0-1 record. Morris also served as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1988 and 1989, while spending two seasons as the running backs and quarterbacks coach at Albany (1986-1987).
A 1986 graduate of Williams College, Morris played quarterback in addition to pitching on the baseball team. He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Belchertown with their son, Ryan (born March 20, 2000).
Morris' Collegiate Coaching File