The Atlanta Falcons have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their head coach.
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their head coach after an exhaustive search that included six-time Super Bowl winner Bill Belichick, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made an announcement.
The 47-year-old Morris is a familiar name in Atlanta, having served as the Falcons’ interim head coach for the final 11 games of the 2020 season after the firing of Dan Quinn. He previously coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three seasons.
Morris was hired by the Falcons after an exhaustive search in which 14 candidates were interviewed, with Belichick the most notable among them.
Earlier Thursday, the team conducted a second interview with Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, but decided in the end to go with a coach who worked in Atlanta from 2015-2020.
Morris becomes the first non-interim Black coach in Falcons history and joins general manager Terry Fontenot, who also is Black, in leading a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2017.
After being passed over for the Falcons job after the 2020 season in favor of Arthur Smith, Morris moved to the Rams. He spent three seasons as that team’s defensive coordinator, a tenure that included a Super Bowl championship his first year.
Smith was fired by the Falcons shortly after their final regular-season game. He went 7-10 in each of his three seasons.
Morris was just 33 years old when he got his first head coaching job with the Buccaneers in 2009. He lasted three seasons, finishing with one winning season, no playoff appearances and a record of 17-31.
During his time in Atlanta, Morris worked on both sides of the line as a pass game coordinator, receivers coach and secondary coach under Quinn. He was promoted to defensive coordinator ahead of the 2020 season, moving up to interim head coach after Quinn was fired following an 0-5 start.
Morris guided the Falcons to a 4-7 mark the rest of the season, leaving his career record as a head coach at 21-38.