Houston hires Major Applewhite to replace Tom Herman as head coach
The Houston Cougars stayed in-house to find their replacement for Tom Herman, hiring Major Applewhite as their new head coach on Friday morning.
Applewhite, 38, was the offensive coordinator and QBs coach under Herman the past two seasons, and he also has been an assistant at Texas, Rice, Alabama and Syracuse. However, this is his first head-coaching job. His first game will be against San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17.
During his four-year collegiate career (1998-2001) at Texas, Applewhite passed for 8.353 yards and 60 TDs.
Applewhite replaces Herman, who went 22-4 over the past two seasons at Houston before accepting the head-coaching job with the Texas Longhorns in late November.
Cougars defensive coordinator Todd Orlando, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and former LSU head coach Les Miles reportedly were among the other finalists at Houston.
FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman reports Orlando is expected to re-join Herman and become Texas' new defensive coordinator. Orlando's unit at Houston ranked No. 20 in total defense and was No. 11 in turnovers gained.
Feldman also recently chronicled Applewhite’s rise through the collegiate coaching ranks – a climb that wasn’t without its setbacks. Applewhite admitted he had to do some serious "soul-searching" after losing his job as Texas' offensive coordinator. From that feature:
"There's been things that have happened in terms of my marriage, my child; successes, major failures that have allowed me to look at myself as a person and say, 'Is this who you are?' Is this who you want to be?'" Applewhite told FOX Sports a few months after being hired at UH as an offensive coordinator. "There was some real soul-searching at times where you look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'Are you pleased with what you see?' And the answer is no. So there's changes that you have to make in your life. You have to constantly hold yourself accountable."
Applewhite's perseverance obviously has paid off.
BREAKING - #Houston has hired Major Applewhite as Cougars new head coach— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 9, 2016
SOURCE: New #Houston head coach Major Applewhite will receive a 5-year contract.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 9, 2016
Big plus for Major Applewhite landing #Houston HC job: He's spent 11 of his 13 professional years coaching in the state of Texas.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 9, 2016