Houston (CBS Houston) – He wasn’t the flashiest candidate, he wasn’t the candidate with the most wins, he wasn’t even the candidate on the previous staff that the administration went to first, but Major Applewhite was the right candidate.
“As this process began, we defined we wanted a coach with great integrity, who believed in our mission and truly believed in a student-athlete experience. We set our sights on a focused competitor, who has demonstrated success and possessed a deep connection to college and high school football in the great state of Texas.” University of Houston Director of Athletics, Hunter Yurachek said.
What gets forgotten is that once upon a time Applewhite was a hot shot, young coordinator that was quickly climbing the ladder with a head coaching job within his grasp. Applewhite also has coached under a long list of mentors who have had a tremendous amount of success.
“Guys like Greg Robinson, Todd Graham, Nick Saban, Mack Brown and especially Tom Herman for bringing me here two years ago. Their leadership, their lessons, their sacrifices, everything that they have taught me has allowed me to stand here today,” Applewhite added.
Applewhite has been the offensive coordinator at UH for the last two seasons and has been an instrumental piece of a program that has went 22-4, but it wasn’t until the interview process that he truly won over the key decision makers.
“It was clear cut at the end that there was only one guy for this job, and that was Major Applewhite.” UH Board of Regents Chairman, Tilman Fertitta said.
The senior class at UH is the winningest senior class in the history of the program so continuity makes sense. The program also has momentum moving in the right direction. After a 13 win season last year, UH maintained national relevance with wins against Oklahoma and then Louisville, who were led by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
“We don’t settle with mediocrity. We are building a nationally competitive, nationally relevant program whether it’s academically or athletically,” UH System Chancellor and UH President, Renu Khator added. “I could see full integrity, enormous sincerity, passion and of course expectations that were way beyond even mine.”
Another positive point for Applewhite is his ability to recruit the state of Texas. Last year UH had the best recruiting class of a non power five conference team, and currently have the top non power five conference class for 2017 according to 247sports.com. It’s believed that with the hiring of Applewhite that most of the commitments will sign with UH.
“We’ve got a very, very talented recruiting class. I’ve spoken with all of them already, many of them are staying and are 100 percent committed,” Applewhite added.
It won’t take long to see Applewhite coach his first game as the head coach with UH playing San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday. With a victory, UH would win 10 games on the year, which is an expectation Applewhite wants to reach every season.
“We want to build continuity. We want to continue to win at a championship level and go beyond, 9-3 is not good enough for us,” Applewhite said. “I’ve always been a winner, I’ll always be a winner, and I’ll always set those expectations for our football team.”