Skip to content

Five candidates to succeed Chad Morris as Allen’s new head football coach

Last Friday, Chad Morris stepped down as Allen’s football coach to pursue an opportunity to return to college football. It was the biggest news of the offseason, as the state’s largest school will be looking for a new head coach for the second straight year.

Allen made a big splash by bringing in Morris after he had been the head coach at SMU and Arkansas and the offensive coordinator at Clemson and Auburn. He was a household name as a high school coach, winning three state titles—one at Bay City in 2000 and back-to-back undefeated seasons at Austin Lake Travis in 2008 and 2009.

But the marriage didn’t stick, even though Morris was coaching a five-time state championship program and had a wealth of resources at his disposal. He left after an 11-3 season that ended with a loss to Southlake Carroll in the Class 6A Division I Region I final.

Before Morris, Allen had only two head coaches —- Tom Westerberg and Terry Gambill — in a 17-year span.

Allen ISD athletic director Kim Garner did not respond to messages from The Dallas Morning News seeking comment for this story, but sources said Allen expects to hire a new coach quickly. One even said that it might happen this week, with Friday being the last day of classes in Allen ISD.

That would be even faster than AISD’s last two coaching searches. Allen hired Gambill two weeks after Westerberg left in 2016 to become Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill’s new athletic director and football coach, then Allen needed only 15 days to hire Morris after Gambill announced his retirement in March 2021.

Allen is one of the most storied programs in the nation, thanks to producing Pro Bowl quarterback Kyler Murray, winning 57 consecutive games from 2012 to 2015, having an enrollment of 7,102 students and playing in a $59.6 million stadium. But it is late in the hiring process to be looking for a new coach, especially considering that Allen finished spring football May 12. That could give an edge to assistant coaches already on the Allen staff or to coaches who played in the program.

SPECIAL REPORT: Allen is the ultimate one-school town. Its football team is a juggernaut. Is a mega high school fair for the rest of Texas?

Allen is one of four Dallas-area schools without a head coach in place at the moment.

Here are possible candidates who could make sense as Allen’s next coach. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have talked to Allen or are looking to leave their current position, but in a football-crazed state, high school jobs don’t get much bigger than this one.

Plus, the pay would be great. Morris had a salary of $141,613.86, according to documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News through an open records request.

David Branscom, Allen assistant coach

Branscom was the defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator and linebackers coach under Morris. Westerberg and Gambill were assistant coaches at Allen before they got the head coaching job there — although Gambill left for six seasons to be the head coach at Waco Midway before returning — and Branscom could be next on that list.

He has head coaching experience, having spent four years at San Antonio Brandeis, where he was 37-10. He showed that he could take a team deep in the playoffs, reaching regional finals in 2018 and 2019 before losing to Austin Westlake both years.

Casey Dick, Fayetteville (Ark.) head coach

This name could surprise a lot of people, but Dick has a history in the Allen program, having been a three-star quarterback at the school in the Class of 2005 before going on to play for Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. This past season, Dick led Fayetteville to Arkansas’ Class 7A state championship game, where his team lost 42-38 to a Bryant team that won its fourth consecutive state title.

Dick was just 32 and had only one year of head coaching experience when he was hired as Fayetteville’s head coach in April 2019. He is 20-15 at Fayetteville, and is coming off a 10-3 season.

Dick has coached in the Dallas area, spending five years as an assistant at Trophy Club Byron Nelson.

Marcus Shavers, McKinney head coach

Allen ISD is becoming a more diverse school district, and it could make history by hiring Shavers as Allen’s first Black head football coach.

It would also bring a former Allen star back home.

Shavers was a four-star defensive lineman for Allen in the Class of 2005(JOHN DAVID EMMETT)

Shavers was a four-star defensive lineman for Allen in the Class of 2005, and he played for two of the best coaches in state history — Joe Martin (a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame) and Westerberg (a four- time state champion). Shavers was a US Army All-American and played at Arkansas before going into coaching. In his first head coaching job, he was 18-6 in two seasons at Lubbock Estacado.

He has been the head coach at McKinney for four seasons, building a program that made the playoffs in 2018 and 2019, then in 2020 beat a Prosper team that was a regional finalist. McKinney could be one of the area’s top up-and-coming programs next season after adding star quarterback Keldric Luster as a transfer from Frisco Liberty. Luster accounted for 5,014 total yards and 54 touchdowns last season.

Scott SurrattCarthage head coach

If Allen is looking to make another big-name hire from outside the program, then Surratt certainly has the championship résumé that would be attractive to a big-time program.

Surratt has won eight state championships in 15 years at Carthage. That’s the most titles by a coach at one school in state history, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Footballand only two 11-man programs in UIL history (Aledo and Katy) have won more state championships than Surratt.

Carthage was on a 41-game winning streak, and had won 81 of its last 82 games, before losing to China Spring in the third round of the Class 4A Division II playoffs last season. Surratt’s teams outscored the opposition 1,252-370 while winning back-to-back state titles in 2019 and 2020.

Tristan WeberAllen assistant coach

Tristan Weber has worked in three of the most successful programs in the state — Highland...
Tristan Weber has worked in three of the most successful programs in the state — Highland Park, Southlake Carroll and Allen. (Carly Geraci/Staff Photographer)

Last year was Weber’s first as the offensive coordinator at Allen, and he directed an offense that averaged 43.2 points. He was also Allen’s assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach, working to develop four-star Class of 2024 quarterback Michael Hawkins, who now lists offers from Michigan, North Carolina State, SMU and Virginia Tech.

Weber has worked in three of the most successful programs in the state — Highland Park, Southlake Carroll and Allen. I have spent 14 years as an assistant at Highland Park, working for Randy Allen, who ranks third in state history in career wins. Weber was then the passing game coordinator for one year at Southlake Carroll, working for Riley Dodge on the 2020 team that was the Class 6A Division I state runner-up.

On Twitter: @DMNGregRiddle

Find more high school sports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

To view subscription options for The News and SportsDay, click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.