There was a time, not too long ago, when it was a foregone conclusion that now former Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Major Applewhite would one day end up as the head football coach on the Forty Acres. Applewhite returned to Texas as Mack Brown’s offensive coordinator with the dismissal of Greg Davis and the stars appeared in alignment for that job to be but a stepping stone.
Reality has proved otherwise, however, as Applewhite’s future — as was true of all of the Texas staff apart from tight ends coach Bruce Chambers — was inexorably tied to the fate of Mack Brown. With Brown’s departure, new head coach Charlie Strong has crafted what many consider to be an outstanding coaching staff in his own image, and the long-time Brown disciples are suddenly out of work, with Applewhite and Duane Akina perhaps being the most notable.
So now what for Major Applewhite?
His time at Texas certainly wasn’t without controversy as a mini-scandal dealing with his brief affair with a Texas athletic trainer briefly caught the attention of the media in Austin, but was just as quickly shoved under the carpet on the back of a likely closed-door deal of some sort. Apart from that, there’s little doubt he is a talented coach who presumably will have a future in college football.
With previous stops at Syracuse, Alabama and Rice, Applewhite has coached across the landscape of Division I football and has a pedigree of working with some of the game’s most notable figures and brightest minds. There were times during the 2013 season when a visceral reaction came from Texas fans:
“Wow that was a great play call.”
“This offense certainly is clicking.”
Consistency wasn’t necessarily a hallmark of this year’s Longhorns squad in the biggest moments, however, and whether to pin that on Applewhite or those responsible for executing the plays he called is a topic for another day.
The simple facts are Major Applewhite has tremendous name recognition, a first-tier history as a player and offensive leader, and a world-class pedigree as an assistant coach with some of the country’s best programs. Controversies aside, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll land on his feet, maybe taking a small step backward.
I can assure you this, however, Major Applewhite isn’t done coaching. Yet.
His best days may still be ahead of him.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and the Hiring Manager for Rant Sports.