South Alabama has promoted offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to fill its vacant head-coaching position, the school announced on Thursday. Applewhite served under former coach Kane Wommack -- who left the program to serve as defensive coordinator at Alabama under first-year coach Kalen DeBoer -- for the past three seasons

Applewhite, 45, helped assemble one of the top offenses in the Sun Belt this season. The Jaguars averaged over 33 points and 440 yards per game, both of which ranked near the top of the conference. South Alabama capped the 2023 season with a 59-10 win over Eastern Michigan in the 68 Ventures Bowl. 

This marks Applewhite's second opportunity to lead a program. He compiled a 15-11 overall record at Houston from 2017-18. 

"I'm incredibly humbled and excited to be the next head football coach at the University of South Alabama," Applewhite said in a statement. "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. I'm excited to work with the strong and proven leadership of the administration here at South Alabama. I'm anxious to get started and quickly turn my attention back to our players, and prepare them for spring ball and the 2024 season."

Applewhite played at Texas from 1998-2001, setting several program records he still owns to this day. After a brief stint in the NFL with the New England Patriots, he returned to the Longhorns to serve as a graduate assistant. He was hired by Syracuse in 2005 as the team's quarterback coach and was the offensive coordinator at Rice and Alabama before returning to his alma mater from 2008-13. He worked under Tom Herman offensive coordinator at Houston from 2015-17, then took over the Cougars program when Herman left for the Texas job. After Houston, he worked as an analyst on Nick Saban's Alabama staff from 2019-20 before he was plucked by the Jaguars in 2021. 

The massive ripple effect is centered around former Alabama coach Nick Saban's retirement. The Crimson Tide tabbed Washington coach Kalen DeBoer to succeed him. One of DeBoer's first moves was to poach Wommack form South Alabama. DeBoer and Wommack worked together at Indiana during the 2019 season.