Chuck Morrell continues his long association with University of Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer, joining the Washington coaching staff as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
Morrell, a former head coach at Montana Tech and defensive coordinator under DeBoer at Sioux Falls, spent the last two years on DeBoer's Fresno State staff as the safeties coach. A South Dakota native himself, Morrell was a teammate of DeBoer's at Sioux Falls, when they both helped the Cougars to the 1996 NAIA Division II national title. Morrell led the 1996 team in tackles. He was also athletic director at Montana State from 2014 through 2017.
In two seasons at Fresno State, Morrell helped coach a defense that made vast statistical improvements in nearly every team defensive category over the 2019 season, the year before his arrival.
The Bulldogs' defense went from 82nd in the national in scoring defense and 88th in total defense in 2019, to No. 20 and No. 31 in the FBS in 2021, respectively – improvements of 62 and 57 places. In terms of NCAA-FBS national ranking, the run defense improved from 71st to 24th while the pass defense leaped from 107th to 58th. Fresno State also improved its national ranking by 45 or more places in yards allowed per play, opponent first downs, sacks, tackles for loss, third-down percentage defense, and fourth-down percentage defense.
In 2021, Fresno State ranked among the top 25 in the nation in scoring defense, tackles for loss, takeaways, fumble recoveries, third-down conversion defense, and fourth-down conversion defense.
The Bulldogs allowed 20.5 points and 347.1 yards per game in 2021, finishing the season with a 10-3 record, including a victory in the New Mexico Bowl. Five defensive players earned some level of All-Mountain West Conference honors.
Morrell began his coaching career at Sioux Falls as defensive backs coach and then spent the next 11 years as defensive coordinator, a span that included all five of DeBoer's seasons as head coach.
Morrell's 2008 USF defense was one of the most dominant in NAIA history as the Cougars allowed just 5.9 points, 14.7 rushing yards and 94.7 passing yards per game while going 14-0. USF opponents managed just a 17-percent third-down conversion rate and just 105 first downs all season.
The following season (DeBoer's last), Sioux Falls allowed just 10.5 points and 210.5 yards of total offense per game, en route to a 15-0 record and another NAIA championship. When DeBoer left Sioux Falls, Morrell became defensive coordinator at Division I University of South Dakota for one season before taking over as head coach at Montana Tech prior to the 2011 season.
In nine seasons as the Orediggers' head coach, Morrell compiled a 52-44 overall record, won three Frontier Conference championships, and three conference coach of the year awards. His teams made three trips to the NAIA Championships, twice reaching the quarterfinals. He left Montana Tech in 2020 when DeBoer offered him a position on his staff at Fresno State. In 2021, he coached first-team All-Mountain West safety Evan Williams.
At Montana Tech, Morrell was named the Frontier Conference Coach of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2016, as well as the AFCA Regional Coach of the Year each of those years. Montana Tech went 20-4 over the 2015-16 seasons. In 2012, the team entered the season unranked and reached as high as No. 7 in the polls that year.
Morrell produced 70 all-conference selections at Montana Tech, along with three conference players of the year and six All-Americans. Montana Tech consistently led the conference in academic all-conference selections and NAIA scholar-athletes during his nine seasons.
Morrell arrived at Montana Tech from the University of South Dakota, where he served as the defensive coordinator for one season in 2010. Prior to his stint at USD, Morrell coached at the University of Sioux Falls from 1998-2009, where he served as the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
During his time at Sioux Falls, the Cougars played in five NAIA national championship games, winning three titles (2006, 2008, 2009). From 2006-2009, the Cougars were the most dominant program in the NAIA, with a record of 56-1 and their only loss in that span was in the 2007 national title game. The 2008-09 teams won 29 straight games and outscored opponents 44.3-to-8.3. He produced 44 All-Conference and 11 All-American defensive players at Sioux Falls.
As a safety at Sioux Falls (1995-97), he was the leading tackler on the 1996 NAIA Division II national championship team. He was inducted into the Cougar Hall of Fame in 2016.
Morrell, a native of Bon Homme, South Dakota, and his wife Jen, are the parents of two daughters, Selene and Aleia.