If SMU is looking for a permanent head coach with deep Texas roots, this reported candidate would certainly qualify. There could be, though, at least a little controversy over his potential candidacy.
In his weekly “Nine Things and One Crazy Prediction” column, the Austin American-Statesman‘s Kirk Bohls writes that “I’m told former Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has applied at SMU, but he couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday.” And that was the extent of the mini-report.
The Mustangs are currently searching for a replacement for June Jones, who abruptly resigned earlier this month. The athletic department is expected to cast a wide net in looking for a successor, and the 36-year-old Applewhite, if the school wants to go the “first-time head coach with Texas ties” route, could certainly be in play.
Applewhite was a Texas Longhorn quarterback from 1998-2001, then served the next three years as a UT grad assistant. In between stints at Syracuse (2005) and Alabama (2007), Applewhite was the offensive coordinator at Rice. Then, from 2008-14, he served on Mack Brown‘s staff in various capacities: co-offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, running backs coach and quarterbacks coach.
Applewhite, though, would come to SMU with some, well, major baggage.
In January of 2013, Texas acknowledged in a press release that “Applewhite [had] engaged in inappropriate, albeit consensual, [sexual] behavior with an adult student during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl trip.” Applewhite acknowledged in a statement at the time that “[s]everal years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate.”
Despite the controversy, Applewhite remained on staff for the 2013 season. Upon the hiring of head coach Charlie Strong, however, Applewhite was given a one-year severance.