The new faces of the SMU Football coaching staff Even Chad Morris needs backup...

We have heard all about SMU’s new head football coach Chad Morris, but he isn’t the only new face in town. Here’s a look at the supporting staff he has brought along with him.

Defensive Coordinator:

Van Malone – Coach Malone is in his first season on the Hilltop. He comes from Oklahoma State where he was the defensive backs coach for three seasons. Prior to that Malone was a secondary coach at Tulsa for two seasons, and a secondary coach at Texas A&M for four seasons. (We are still trying to look past that small detail.)

Malone has very in-depth experience at coaching and mentoring players. He was a four year letterman at the University of Texas, (not quite as bad as TAMU), where he played defensive back. He is a family oriented man that loves roller coasters and naps.

During his time with Oklahoma State, the Cowboys defense was ranked 14th in scoring defense, seventh in turnovers gained, fourth in passes intercepted, fifth in red zone defense, ninth in pass efficiency defense, 15th in tackles for loss, seventh in third down conversion percentage defense, and 22nd in rush defense. Think he’s ready to turn things around?

Follow Coach Malone on Twitter @SMUCoachMalone.


Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach:

Joe Craddock – Young, hungry, and energetic.

Three solid words to describe Coach Craddock. Although he has little experience, and has never been an offensive coordinator before, Coach Craddock knows Coach Morris’s style and his methods. Craddock spent three seasons at Clemson as a offense graduate assistant where the Tigers were ranked in the top 20.

He graduated in 2008 from Middle Tennessee University where he played football and baseball. Craddock also spent some time playing in the Italian Football League before joining Morris’s staff at Clemson. Coach Craddock’s ultimate test will probably come on September 4th against Baylor and an offensive coordinator, Kendal Briles, who is just a few years older than him. It will be exciting watching these young play callers square off.

Check out our Baylor/SMU football preview here, and follow Coach Craddock on Twitter @CoachCraddock.


Assistant Coach/Offensive Line Coach:

Dustin Fry – Like Craddock, Fry is a former graduate assistant at Clemson and joins Morris’s relatively young staff. But don’t let youth be mistaken for lack of experience and knowledge.

Morris’s style of coaching and offense requires a certain level of energy and intensity, and that is exactly what these young coaches have brought. Fry was a First Team All-ACC center for Clemson in 2006, lettered four years as a Tiger, and was drafted by the St Louis Rams in 2008. At 6’3, 300 lbs he isn’t someone you want to pick a fight with.

Follow Coach Fry on Twitter @CoachDustinFry.

Assistant Coach:

Keith Gunn – In his third season on the Hilltop, Coach Gunn is not a new face to SMU football. In 2013, he was the offense quality control coach. In 2014, he was a defensive assistant, and will now be serving Morris as an assistant coach.

One of the older coaches on staff, Gunn played strong safety at Abiliene Christian University and graduated in 1992. A man of many hats, Gunn served in many roles for Texas A&M football (Like Coach Malone, we are trying to look past that small detail), was a recruiting coordinator for Baylor, and then left football to manage and own his own construction company. Gunn jumped back into the Texas football spotlight in 2008 as part of the coaching staff for Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game.

Coach Gunn is a family man, who judging by the amount of Mustang pictures he’s uploaded to twitter, I’d say he’s pretty excited. With his experience in recruiting and networking with Texas football, look for Gunn to be heavily involved in Morris’s recruitment efforts.

Follow Coach Gunn on Twitter @CoachKeithGunn.


Assistant Coach/Secondary:

Jess Loepp – Coach Loepp is a defensive specialist. Having been a safeties coach/recruiting coordinator at Rice and Tulsa (Tulsa on two separate occassions for a total five of years), Loepp brings quality experience in his first season on the Hilltop. No stranger to mentoring young players, Loepp coached Dexter McCoil to the career leader spot on Tulsa’s all-time interceptions list.

Loepp graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma, where he was an All-Lonestar Conference performer as a linebacker. Loepp also brings a wealth of recruiting knowledge and experience from his days as an assistant coach for Lake Travis during their 2008, 16-0, 4A state championship run.

Follow Coach Loepp on Twitter @CoachJessLoepp.


Assistant Coach/Running Backs:

Claude Mathis – Having known Morris from his time as a high school coach, Mathis hails from DeSoto high school with a record of 74-18 in seven seasons as the head coach.

During his time at DeSoto, Mathis took the program to back-to-back state semifinal games, and led the program to five 10-win seasons in the last five years. DeSoto is now one of the state’s premier football programs.

Mathis’s experience and wisdom at running back comes from a record-setting career at Southwest Texas State, which is now Texas State in San Marcos. Mathis was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1998. His age and experience bring some much needed wisdom to the Hilltop. Additionally, his time as a high school coach will give him an edge in coaching and mentoring incoming freshman. Morris is keeping true to his pledge to recruit heavily from Texas, especially the DFW area. Mathis will certainley help grow those numbers.

In another life Coach Mathis would be a WWE star with an affinity for snow cones, and naturally, he would drive a mustang. Follow Coach Mathis on Twitter @CoachCMathis.

Assistant Coach/Linebackers:

Archie Mcdaniel – I really don’t understand how we ended up with so many Aggies on staff. If you haven’t figured out by now I’m not at big A&M fan.

Coach McDaniel played football at TAMU and was a starting linebacker from 2003-2005. In addition to being a three year starter, McDaniel was a team captain his senior year. After graduating from A&M with a degree in agricultural development, McDaniel made his way to Athens, Texas to coach linebackers for one season at Trinity Valley Community College.  After a stent in East Texas, McDaniel returned to TAMU as a graduate assistant. From there he would coach linebackers at Texas Southern, and then travel to Tulsa where he first crossed paths with Coach Morris.

After three years coaching different defensive positions at New Mexico, he signed on with SMU in December 2014.

Follow Coach McDaniel on Twitter @CoachArchieMac.

2 years ago
Written by Jesse Carr
Jesse is journalism major at Southern Methodist University and co-founder of The Stable. A die hard Texan, Jesse loves Lonestar beer, tattoos, God, anything sports related, and contributes coverage of all SMU athletics.