July 26, 1978 |
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
1998 Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year
1999 Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Year
1999 All-Big 12 first team
2001 Holiday Bowl MVP
Major Lee Applewhite (born July 26, 1978) is a former American football player and coach. Applewhite is the current Offensive Coordinator for Houston . In 2013 he was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Texas. Prior to Texas, Applewhite served as offensive coordinator at Rice University under Todd Graham in 2006, and at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban in 2007. He was the youngest offensive coordinator among Division I-A schools at that time.
Applewhite was previously the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse University in 2005. Prior to coaching, he was a college football quarterback for the Texas Longhorns from 1998 to 2001 and set 8 school records. Many of these still stand, including the longest pass play (97 yards), consecutive passes without an interception (156) and most yards passing in a game (473). He previously held the record for career yards (8,353).
Applewhite was a quarterback for the Texas Longhorns from 1998 to 2001. Recruited from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by then Texas coach John Mackovic, he was later coached by Mack Brown. While at Texas, the undersized Applewhite's tenure was noted both for his often gritty heroics as well as his battle for playing time with the heralded blue chip recruit Chris Simms, son of New York Giants legend Phil Simms. Applewhite led Texas to two Big 12 Championship games, to victory in 2 Bowl games, and set 48 school records along the way.
After redshirting the 1997 season, an injury by starting quarterback Richard Walton catapulted Applewhite into the starting job two games into his redshirt freshman season. He went 8-2 as a starter, including upsets of #7 University of Nebraska 20-16, which broke the Cornhuskers' 47 home game winning streak, and #6 Texas A&M. In a blowout victory over Oklahoma, Applewhite threw a 97 yard touchdown pass to Wane McGarity, the longest pass in Texas history. He capped the season by leading the Longhorns to a 38-11 victory over Mississippi in the Cotton Bowl. It was Texas' first Cotton Bowl victory since 1982.
In 1999, Applewhite started almost every game, leading Texas to a 9-4 record, a Big 12 South Championship and the Cotton Bowl. Going into the Texas A&M game (the so-called Bonfire Game, as it followed the tragic death of 12 students during construction of A&Ms annual bonfire), Texas was ranked #5, but the night before the game, Applewhite got an intestinal virus that kept him up all night and required him to be put on an IV the next day. As a result, backup freshman Chris Simms got his first career start and had the Longhorns up 16-6 at halftime. After Simms struggled in the 2nd half he was replaced by Applewhite in the 4th quarter, but Applewhite was unable to produce. Texas fell behind in the last 6 minutes and Applewhite fumbled on their last possession. That was followed by losses to Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game and to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Applewhite suffered a knee injury in the 4th quarter of the Cotton Bowl and was replaced by Simms. 
The next season Applewhite was again the starter, but after a loss to Stanford in the 2nd game, Simms was given the start the following game against Houston. Simms struggled early and Applewhite got the majority of the snaps in what turned out to be a rout, thus regaining the starting job. He lost it again following a season-ending knee injury in the Texas Tech game. At that point Texas was 7-2 and ranked #19. Texas went 2-1 with Simms as quarterback, and Mack Brown was impressed enough to name Simms the starter before spring practice began. 
Applewhite was the backup for Simms for the entirety of the 2001 regular season and Simms led Texas to a #3 ranking and a trip to the Big 12 Championship against #10 Colorado. But in that game Applewhite got the opportunity to go out as a starter and a hero. Because of an upset loss by Florida earlier in the day, Texas went into that game knowing that a win would put them in the BCS Championship Game. But Simms had a disastrous game and was responsible for four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble) in the first half of play. Meanwhile, Major was seen attempting to rally the offense before they took to the field, even as the restless Texas fans booed Simms. Two plays later, Simms injured his finger and Applewhite entered the game with Texas down 29-10. His second pass was completed for a 79 yard touchdown and he baited the University of Colorado bench in an attempt to rally the Texas fans. He led Texas back to within 2 points, but eventually Texas would come up short losing 39-37 after an onside kick attempt failed.
His near miracle comeback, combined with Simms' injury, earned him the starting position for his final game at Texas, the 2001 Holiday Bowl and he didn't disappoint. In perhaps his finest game, he led Texas from behind three times throwing for a school record 473 yards and four touchdowns. In a fourth quarter aerial assault, Texas scored 23 points in a little over 10 minutes to take the lead, but Washington would come back to take the lead once more. With 1:49 left in the game, Applewhite engineered a 7 play, 80 yard touchdown drive with passes of 25 and 37 yards to win the game. He was named the Holiday Bowl MVP as a result. He finished with a record as a starter of 22-8.
Applewhite played in the 2001 Hula Bowl.
- Cotton Bowl - Most completions, career, surpassed by Graham Harrell in 2009
- UT-Passing yards, game (473) - broke his own record. Also the most passing yards in a bowl game.
- UT-Passing yards by a freshman, Game (408)
- UT-Passing yards, season (3,357), surpassed by McCoy in 2008
- UT-Passing yards by a freshman (2,453), surpassed by McCoy in 2008
- UT-Passing yards, career (8,353), surpassed by Colt McCoy in 2008, also set the Big 12 record, surpassed by Kliff Kingsbury in 2002
- UT-Completions by a freshman, game (29)
- UT-Completions, season (271), surpassed by McCoy in 2007
- UT-Completions, career (611), surpassed by McCoy in 2008
- UT-Attempts, season (467), surpassed by McCoy in 2009
- UT-Attempts, career (1065), surpassed by McCoy in 2009
- UT-Touchdown Passes by a freshman (18), surpassed by McCoy in 2006
- UT-Touchdown Passes, career (60), surpassed by McCoy in 2009
- UT-Touchdown Passes in a Bowl Game (4)
- UT-Total Offense, Bowl Game (476 yards)
- UT-Total Offense, Game (476 yards), broke his own record, surpassed by Vince Young
- UT-Total Offense, Season (3,211 yards), surpassed by Young
- UT-Total Offense, Career (8,059 yards), surpassed by Young
- UT-Most 300 yard total offense games, season (4), surpassed by Young
- UT-Most 300 yard total offense games, career (8), tied James Brown, surpassed by Young
- UT-Most 400 yard total offense games, season (1), tied by Chris Simms, surpassed by Young
- UT-Most 400 yard total offense games, career (1), tied by Simms, surpassed by Young
- UT-Most 400 yard passing games, season (1), tied by Simms and McCoy
- UT-Most 400 yard passing games, career (2), tied by McCoy
- UT-Fastest to 1,000 yards in a single season (4 games), tied with McCoy, James Brown and David Ash
- UT-Fastest to 2,000 yards in a single season (7 games)
- UT-Consecutive passes without an interception (156), also in 2nd with 138
- UT-Consecutive games with a touchdown (19)
- UT-Consecutive 200 yard games, season (11)
- UT-Consecutive 200 yard games, career (21)
- UT-Lowest percentage of passes intercepted (minimum 300 passes), career (2.6%)
- UT-Victories by a freshman (8), surpassed by McCoy in 2006
- UT-Longest scoring play (97 yards)
- Big 12 & UT-Longest pass play (97 yards), and longest by a freshman
- Big 12 & UT-Longest pass play by a Sophomore QB (96 yards), also tied for 2nd longest pass ever at UT and 3rd in Big 12
- Big 12-Passing yards, career (8,353), surpassed by Kliff Kingsbury in 2002
College coaching career
Returning to Texas as a graduate assistant, Applewhite served in that position until early 2005 when he was offered the position of quarterbacks coach at Syracuse University by new head coach Greg Robinson, Texas' former defensive coordinator. Applewhite's first coaching job was a disaster, with the Orange going 1-10, their worst record in school history (after 6-6 the year before) and scoring their fewest points in more than 20 years (from 22.8 points in 2004 to 13.8 points in 2005). On January 8, 2006, after one year at Syracuse, Rice University named Applewhite offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under new head coach Todd Graham. Graham said of Applewhite's expected contribution to the new staff, "We want to spread the field and throw the football, and every quarterback and receiver in this state will be interested in Rice with Major as our offensive coordinator." At Rice, Applewhite moved the team away from the wishbone offense and moved them to a more modern, one-running-back formation similar to that used by Texas. During his one season at Rice, the team posted a 7–6 record and attended its first bowl game in over forty years.
After former Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik was hired as head coach at Iowa State University in December 2006, Applewhite was rumored to be joining his coaching staff. Applewhite, however, officially announced on December 4, 2006, that he would not leave Rice for Iowa State. He did however leave Rice only a month later, not for Iowa State but for Alabama, as he accepted an offer by newly hired Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban to serve as the offensive coordinator. Given his ties to the Lone Star State, Applewhite targeted a couple of Texas high school prospects, including Lennon Creer. Alabama eventually received commitments by quarterback Nick Fanuzzi and defensive back Tarence Farmer.
In his first season at Alabama, Applewhite improved the Crimson Tide offense, which averaged 22.3 points and 340.9 total yards per game under Dave Rader in 2006, to an average of 26.8 points and 372.6 total yards per game in 2007. Following a 41-17 blowout win over SEC rival Tennessee on October 20, Applewhite was named "Offensive Coordinator of the Week." Alabama, however, then lost the last four games of the season, including a shocking 21-14 loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
During the 2007 season, Applewhite was mentioned as a possible replacement for Art Briles as head coach at the University of Houston. Briles had left Houston for Baylor University. Applewhite, however, withdrew his name from the candidates list.
On January 6, 2011, Applewhite was announced as the co-offensive coordinator. The next day, Mack Brown announced that the primary play caller and other co-offensive coordinator would be Bryan Harsin from Boise State.
On December 12, 2012, Harsin was named head coach at Arkansas State University. Applewhite assumed play calling duties at Texas and coached quarterbacks. He was co-offensive coordinator with wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt.
- "Texas DE Pittman dies; Simms named starter". Amarillo Globe-News (Amarillo). February 27, 2001. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Richmond, Travis (2001-12-01). "Applewhite to start in Holiday Bowl". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Major Applewhite Signs with Patriots". The Tuscaloosa News (Tuscaloosa, AL). April 24, 2002. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Applewhite scraps NFL attempt to finish degree at Texas". Sports Illustrated. May 31, 2002. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Syracuse University Athletics - All-Time Seasonal Team Records, Scoring, and Attendance". Suathletics.syr.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "Applewhite Named Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach". Rice University. 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2006-06-11.
- Associated Press (2006). "Major Promotion: Applewhite names coordinator at Rice". ESPN. Retrieved January 8, 2006.
- "Owls enter ‘06 with new passing attack". The.ricethresher.org. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "Rice assistant Applewhite to face former team". Associated Press. 2006-09-16. Retrieved 2006-09-16.
- "''CSTV:'' Statement from Major Applewhite". Cstv.com. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- "Applewhite accepts Alabama offensive coaching position". Associated Press. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2007-01-12.
- "Applewhite Named Offensive Coordinator of the Week". RollTide.com. 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2006-10-27.[dead link]
- "''Houston Chronicle:'' UH candidates include Applewhite". Chron.com. 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2010-10-12.
- Austin American-Statesman: Longhorns hire former QB great Applewhite[dead link]
- "Houston Chronicle:" Youth movement marches on for Texas Applewhite, Boise State’s Harsin to help manage offenseTemplate:Date=January 2011
|University of Texas Quarterback
|Alabama Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator
|Texas Longhorn Offensive Coordinator