BREAKING: Cougars make major decision, Applewhite in as head coach
University of Houston officials announced Friday that former offensive coordinator Major Applewhite will take the reins of the Cougars and become the 13th head coach in the football program’s history.
The search for the next head coach of the program concluded after just two weeks of conducting interviews with multiple candidates.
“When we set out on our search for the new leader of our football program, we wanted a coach with great integrity who believed in our mission and truly believed in our student-athlete experience,” said Houston Vice President of Athletics Hunter Yurachek in a news release.
“We had our sights set on a focused competitor who has demonstrated success and possesses a deep connection to college and high school football in the great state of Texas. As this process was completed, it was clearly evident the only individual to offer our position to was Major Applewhite, and he was indeed the right man to lead our program.”
Applewhite was the mastermind behind the prolific Cougar offenses of the last two seasons. Under his guidance, Houston ranked seventh in points scored in 2015 and 24th in 2016.
This season the Cougars have the 15th ranked passing offense and check in at 22nd in points per game.
“The student-athletes truly are the backbone of every great program and as they’ve demonstrated over the past few years,” Applewhite said in a news release. “We have an exceptional group of young men in our program, and we’ll continue to add men with great character and a competitive drive in our recruiting.”
A former University of Texas quarterback from 1998-2001, Applewhite began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in Austin in 2003. Applewhite set multiple NCAA records as a student-athlete at Texas.
After a brief stop coaching quarterbacks for Syracuse University, he received his first big break when he was hired as Rice University’s offensive coordinator in 2006.
Applewhite then spent a season as the OC of the University of Alabama in 2007 before returning to UT as an assistant head coach from 2008-2010 and co-offensive coordinator from 2011-2013.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native came to Houston as former head coach Tom Herman’s top choice for OC in 2014. He spent the next two seasons transforming the Cougars’ offense into one of the top units in the nation.
The 38-year-old Applewhite replaces interim head coach Todd Orlando, who had been expected to lead the Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl next weekend.
Orlando was named the interim when Herman bolted for the vacant head coach position at UT on Nov. 26.
Applewhite will be the head coach when the Cougars take on the San Diego State University Aztecs Dec. 17.
“My family and I are excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead such a tradition rich program and continue our lives in one of the greatest cities is the nation; a city we love,” Applewhite said in a news release.