Major Applewhite named Houston Offensive Coordinator

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HOUSTON, Texas — University of Houston head football coach Tom Herman named former Texas Longhorn quarterback Major Applewhite as his new offensive coordinator.

Applewhite has 12 years of coaching experience including six years as an offensive coordinator.

Applewhite joins Todd Orlando (defensive coordinator, linebackers coach), Craig Naivar (assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach), Jason Washington (special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach), Drew Mehringer (wide receivers coach) and Corby Meekins (tight ends coach) who were all named to the UH staff on Monday.

University of Houston Athletics Communications Office issued this release:

HOUSTON – Houston Football head coach Tom Herman named Major Applewhite his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Thursday. Applewhite, who has 12 years of coaching experience including six as an offensive coordinator, has coached in nine bowl games, three of which have been the BCS variety including the 2010 BCS National Championship, arrives in Houston after seven years at Texas, his final four years as co-offensive coordinator after serving as assistant head coach his first three seasons.

“Major has always been innovative on the football field with a focus on an explosive offense, both as a coach and player,” said Herman. “He is bright and has been on an elevated level in our profession beginning early in his career. Along with his offensive background, he is very well respected in the state of Texas which will provide benefits on the recruiting trail.”

Applewhite joins Todd Orlando (defensive coordinator, linebackers coach), Craig Naivar (assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach), Jason Washington (special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach), Drew Mehringer (wide receivers coach) and Corby Meekins (tight ends coach) who were all named to the UH staff Monday.

In 2013, despite losing starting QB David Ash for a majority of the season, Case McCoy stepped in and helped the Longhorns post a 7-2 Big 12 record that had them in position for the league title in the last game of the season under Applewhite’s eye. The season pushed McCoy into the top 10 in career passing at UT with 3,689 yards, a list Ash ranks eighth on with 4,538. Overall, Applewhite guided the offense to an average 408.7 total yards, including 196.2 yards on the ground (No. 3 Big 12). It also set a UT single-game record with 715 total yards, including 359 on the ground and 356 in the air, against New Mexico State.

During his time with the running backs at UT, Applewhite had quite a bit of success with Fozzy Whittaker, Chris Ogbonnaya, and Cody Johnson all having advanced to the NFL. In 2012, the running backs combined for nearly 2,000 rushing yards, including 701 by freshman Johnathan Gray who earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. Joe Bergeron also posted 16 rushing TDs, which was second in the Big 12. Four backs rushed for more than 200 yards and all the RBs combined for 836 receiving yards on 84 receptions.

In 2011, Texas running backs combined for 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns while adding 36 receptions for 285 yards. Four different backs recorded five or more rushing touchdowns and four players had over 300 rushing yards, led by Brown (707 yards, 5 TD), who missed five games due to injury in 2012, and Bergeron (454 yards, 5 TD). Brown being named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press.

In 2010, the running back corps combined for 1,396 rushing yards and 14 TDs, while catching 47 passes for 322 yards. During Applewhite’s tenure, the current Texas RBs who have started at least one game in their careers fumbled only 12 times and lost only three. Of those 12, only four belonged to backs on the 2010 team and of those, only one was lost (Fozzy Whittaker 2-0, Cody Johnson 1-0, Tre’ Newton 1-1).

The running backs rushed for 1,665 yards and 24 TDs in 2009. Newton. a redshirt freshman, emerged to lead the team in rushing, helping fill the void of Ogbonnaya, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Newton combined with junior Vondrell McGee, Johnson and Whittaker, who each had at least 50 carries.

In 2008, Applewhite guided a running backs unit that had to replace Jamaal Charles, who went to the NFL. Ogbonnaya, McGee, Whittaker and Johnson stepped in and combined to rush for 1,371 yards and 20 TDs, including 12 TDs by Johnson, which tied the UT freshman record. The group did not lose a fumble during the entire season and showed its versatility by combining for 65 receptions for 640 yards and three TDs, led by Ogbonnaya, who set the UT single-season record for receptions by a running back with 46. He also finished second on the single-season receiving yards list with 540. Ogbonnaya earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors and was named second-team Academic All-American.

Applewhite returned to his alma mater after spending the 2007 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, where he was the youngest coordinator on the FBS level.

In Applewhite’s one year at Alabama, the Crimson Tide bounced back from a losing season in 2006 to post a 7-6 record under first-year coach Nick Saban. Under his guidance, Alabama improved its offensive output by nearly 40 yards per game (335.9 to 373.8) and increased its scoring from 22.9 points per game to 27.1. His offense generated 256 yards passing and 388 total yards to cap the year with a 30-24 win over Colorado in the Independence Bowl.

In 2007, the Crimson Tide gained 510 yards of offense (363 passing/147 rushing) en route to a 41-17 victory over a Tennessee team that finished the year ranked 12th nationally. Trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter against a Georgia team that finished the year ranked No. 2, Applewhite’s offense scored 10 points in the final six minutes, including a 10-play, 88-yard drive that tied the game and sent it to overtime in an eventual 26-23 loss.

Prior to Alabama, Applewhite spent a season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Rice where, as the youngest coordinator on the FBS level, he directed an offense that scored the then-most points (350) and gained the then second-most yards (4,486) in Owls’ history. Under his guidance, Rice produced a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard passer for the first time in school history en route to the program’s first appearance in a bowl game since 1961. The 2006 Rice offense produced a 109-point improvement in scoring over the previous season.

Before his stint at Rice, Applewhite joined former Longhorn defensive coordinator Greg Robinson at Syracuse where he served as quarterbacks coach in 2005. Applewhite’s coaching career began where he starred, at Texas, where he served as a graduate assistant coach and worked with the offensive line for two seasons (2003-04). In his final year in 2004, the Longhorns went 11-1, beat No. 12 Michigan in the Rose Bowl and earned a No. 4 final ranking – it’s highest since 1981.

The Longhorns’ team captain in 2001, Applewhite helped Texas to four straight bowl games (1999 and 2000 Cotton Bowls/2000 and 2001 Holiday Bowls) and posted a 22-8 record as a starter. He capped his career by throwing for a UT record 473 yards and a Longhorn-bowl-game best four TDs en route to Offensive MVP honors in a 47-43 victory over No. 20 Washington in the 2001 Holiday Bowl. The 1999 co-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year set then-UT records for career (8,353) and season (3,357/1999) passing yards, as well as career TD passes (60). He threw for 2,453 yards and 18 TDs, UT freshman records at the time, in claiming Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in 1998.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., Applewhite threw for 50 touchdowns and ran for eight more in two years as a starter at Catholic High School. He was tabbed an honorable mention prep All-America by USA Today after leading Catholic High to a 13-1 record and No. 10 national ranking as a senior. He was 25-2 as a starter.