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South Alabama elevates offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to head coach

MOBILE, Ala. — South Alabama has promoted offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to head coach.

Athletic director Joel Erdmann announced the former Houston coach as Kane Wommack’s replacement, two days after Wommack left to become Kalen DeBoer’s defensive coordinator at Alabama.

“Following a broad evaluation of our program, it became very clear that the best leader for us in both the short and long term is Major Applewhite,” Erdmann said. “His professional experience, his string of mentors along his path and his proven ability to recruit, develop and sustain relationships with student-athletes were all significant contributing factors to this decision.

“I am incredibly excited about our future and can’t wait to work together with coach Applewhite as we continue to move this program forward.”

Applewhite spent the last three seasons running the Jaguars offense. Before that he went 15-11 in two seasons at Houston, leading the team to a pair of bowl games.

The former Texas quarterback spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at his alma mater, where he was an assistant from 2008-13.

Applewhite was Alabama’s offensive coordinator during Nick Saban’s first season in 2007. He returned as an analyst on Saban’s staff for two seasons. He also had stints at Syracuse and Rice.

“I’m incredibly humbled and excited to be the next head football coach at the University of South Alabama,” said Applewhite. “My family and I love living in Mobile and are thankful for the opportunity to further ingrain ourselves in the community here. I’m grateful to Kane Wommack for bringing me here three years ago, and I look forward to carrying on the winning tradition that has been established.”

The Jaguars offense set a program record for points in a season at 430 in 2023, scoring at least 55 points three times.

As a player, Applewhite was named the Big 12 Conference’s co-offensive player of the year in 1999.