A cold, hard look at the facts say that firing Major Applewhite was 100% necessary.
Reason #1: The Record
In 26 games, Major was 15-11 at UH including a 10-6 record in a very mediocre division and an 0-3 bowl record. Major lost to four of the other 5 teams in the division – beating only Navy twice.
But it’s when you look deeper at his record that the red flags jump out:
Major’s teams beat just 1 team with over 8 wins (USF 2017) but managed to lose to 5 teams with losing records.
Over half of his wins are vs. teams that finished under .500: Rice (2), TSU, Tulsa, ECU (2), Navy, and Arizona 2018.
Seven of his 15 wins came against teams that went 3-9 or worse. 14 of his 15 wins were over teams that finished 7-6 or worse.
This year’s strength of schedule ranking is 103 according to Massey – that’s the second-worst schedule in school history.
This year’s group of opponents finished the season at 61-92 overall (39.8%) and 53-88 (37.6%) in games not against UH. Our four OOC opponents went just 14-34 (29.1%) this season.
Major’s winning record needs to be seen in this context – he beat some really, really bad teams. Eight games in 2018 were against teams with a losing record and 13 overall in Major’s 26 game tenure and six more against 7-6 teams.
Seven of Major’s 15 wins came against the smallest 16 schools in FBS (Rice, SMU, Tulsa, Tulane, Navy).
UH faced a team with 8+ wins only four times in 23 regular season games under Major. The Coogs were 1-3 in those games. If not for D’Eriq King’s late game heroics at USF in 2017, it would be 0-4.
8+ win opponents: 4 (1-3 record)
7-6 opponent: 6 (6-0)
Under .500: 13 (8-5)
Reason #2: Attendance
The announced attendance average at UH games this year was 29,838. Last year it was 32,583. 38,953 – 9000 more per game than Major’s 2nd season. That’s 54,000 more fans – a significant number when you realize only 179,029 were announced for the season.
And it would have been worse next year. Way worse. With only 5 home games – Prairie View and 4 AAC games – the attendance is going to be bad. Unless you give people a reason to get excited again. Hopefully, that’s what this change will do.
Reason: #3: Energy
At no time since Kim Helton has there been as little energy around the program as the last 24 months under Major. Each of his two seasons have ended with a resounding thud along with the worst bowl loss in NCAA history.
Major was never a comfortable fit at UH – he wasn’t able to sell the program in a city that demands more than beating a few bad teams. and recruiting has not been up to the level that it should be. Few of his players have developed in the time since he became head coach (D’Eriq King being the obvious exception).
It’s time to find a face for UH football. A leader that can sell this university and program to recruits, fans, and donors.
Thank you for your service, Major, and for running a clean program.
We’ll have more on Major Applewhite’s firing over the next few days as more information becomes available.
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