On December 4, 2015, Norvell was introduced as the 24th head football coach of the Memphis Tigers. The youngest FBS head coach in the nation at the time of his hiring (aged 34), Norvell had overseen one of the nation's most explosive offenses at Arizona State under Todd Graham and had ties to the area, having played wide receiver at Central Arkansas from 2001–2005. Like Justin Fuente, Norvell was a young, up-and-coming offensive coordinator who employed an up-tempo, pass-oriented spread offense and brought the high-octane system with him to Memphis. One of Norvell's first moves as head coach was to retain Darrell Dickey from Fuente's staff, naming him associate head coach/co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach. The University of Memphis signed Norvell to a five-year contract that paid him a base salary of $1. 8 million for his first year that would increase slightly each passing year.