Hous­ton pro­motes Ma­jor Applewhite to head coach

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

The Univer­sity of Hous­ton didn’t end up need­ing to go far in re­plac­ing head coach Tom Her­man.

Ma­jor Applewhite, who served as Her­man’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor the last two sea­sons, was pro­moted to the job on Fri­day. It will be the first head coach­ing job for the 38-year-old Applewhite.

“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,” Hous­ton ath­letic di­rec­tor Hunter Yu­rachek said. “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.” Her­man re­cently left Hous­ton to be­come the coach at Texas af­ter two years with the Cougars and there was spec­u­la­tion Hous­ton might hire Alabama of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Lane Kif­fin. In­stead, Hous­ton went with Applewhite, a Louisiana na­tive who nonethe­less has deep ties and fa­mil­iar­ity with Texas.

“Liv­ing in the best state for high school foot­ball is a true bless­ing and ad­van­tage for our pro­gram and I can­not be more thank­ful for the sup­port of our out­stand­ing high school coaches from through­out the state,” he said.

The Cougars meet San Diego State in the Las Ve­gas Bowl on Dec. 17. Applewhite steps into a pro­gram that has had lot of suc­cess in the last 10 years and has be­come a launch­ing pad for coaches. Art Briles went 34-28 with a Con­fer­ence USA ti­tle at Hous­ton from 2003-07 be­fore mov­ing on to Bay­lor. Kevin Sum­lin went 35-17 from 2008-11 be­fore leav­ing for Texas A&M. Her­man went 22-4 with an Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in 2015 and was per­haps the hottest coach­ing com­mod­ity dur­ing his two-year ten­ure at Hous­ton. Un­der Applewhite’s direc­tion, the Cougars gained more than 500 yards 11 times and passed the 600-yard mark four times. The of­fense piled up 40 points 12 times and scored at least 50 points five other oc­ca­sions in the past two sea­sons.

EX­PLO­SIVE PASS­ING

“It’s no co­in­ci­dence that the suc­cess UH foot­ball has achieved over the past two sea­sons hap­pened with Ma­jor Applewhite run­ning our of­fense,” Hous­ton Pres­i­dent Renu Kha­tor said. “His en­ergy and cre­ativ­ity are re­spon­si­ble for one of the most ex­plo­sive pass­ing games in col­lege foot­ball and I am con­fi­dent that as our head coach he will con­tinue our up­ward tra­jec­tory as a na­tion­ally rel­e­vant ath­let­ics pro­gram.”

Applewhite spent seven sea­sons as an as­sis­tant at Texas be­fore join­ing Her­man’s staff. He was the co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in his last four sea­sons with the Longhorns af­ter work­ing as as­sis­tant head coach for the first three sea­sons. The run­ning backs had plenty of suc­cess un­der Applewhite’s guid­ance with their best sea­son com­ing in 2011 when the group com­bined for 2,300 yards rush­ing and 23 touch­downs. A year later the team’s run­ning backs com­bined for al­most 2,000 yards rush­ing.

His time at Texas wasn’t without prob­lems. Applewhite was dis­ci­plined in 2009 for what Texas called an “in­ap­pro­pri­ate” con­duct with a stu­dent trainer on a bowl trip. Applewhite’s pay was frozen for a year and he was or­dered to un­dergo coun­sel­ing. He was later pro­moted to of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.—AP

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