In this Feb. 4, 2015 photo, Houston's offensive coordinator Major Applewhite speaks during a webcast in Houston. Applewhite was hired to replace Tom Herman as coach at Houston on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. ( Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Football

Houston officials expecting Todd Orlando to follow Tom Herman to Texas

Houston defensive coordinator passed over for head coaching job by offensive coordinator Major Applewhite

Posted December 9th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Houston AD Hunter Yurachek on Todd Orlando: “I think he’s destined for Austin.”
  • Tom Herman happy for Major Applewhite: “I'm just thrilled for Major, Julie and his family.”
  • If Applewhite isn't coming, who does Herman hire as the offensive coordinator?

Friday’s news with Tom Herman’s former employer in Houston had huge ripple effects for his new job with the Longhorns.

Houston officials expect Cougars defensive coordinator Todd Orlando to join Herman at Texas after getting passed over for the UH head coaching job by offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.

Both coaches interviewed for Herman’s old position; however, it was believed that both would come to Texas if Houston hired someone else.

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Houston defensive coordinator Todd Orlando expected to stay with the Cougars through their upcoming bowl game.
Houston defensive coordinator Todd Orlando expected to stay with the Cougars through their upcoming bowl game. (Photo by Houston athletics)

“I think he’s destined for Austin,” Houston athletic director Hunter Yurachek told the American-Statesman. “He’s probably moving on.”

A UT spokesman had no comment on Friday when asked if Orlando was indeed coming to Texas. Orlando is expected to stay with the Cougars through their bowl game on Dec. 17.

Tilman Fertitta, chairman of the UH System Board of Regents, echoed Yurachek’s thoughts in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

“It’s probably known out there that Todd’s probably going to go join Tom Herman at the University of Texas,” Fertitta said. “I don’t know if he’s officially told us. But I interviewed him, and Todd’s not going to stay.”

Fertitta added that Orlando was “a great guy, gosh I wish him the best of luck. I would have done anything to keep him.”

For Applewhite, staying at Houston is a unique opportunity for the former Texas quarterback, who now occupies one of the best Group of Five jobs in college football.

“We poured a lot of energy into that program together the past two years and Major will do a terrific job continuing to build on that,” Herman said in a statement. “His goal has always been to have an opportunity to run his own program, he’s ready for this next step and I’m just thrilled for Major, Julie and his family.”

Applewhite may also choose to retain Houston safeties coach Craig Naivar, another Herman assistant that was thought to be coming to Austin.

With Applewhite now out of the mix at Texas, who becomes the Longhorns’ offensive coordinator? That is now unclear.

Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer’s career has tracked that of Herman’s. Mehringer was a graduate assistant at Iowa State (2010-11) and Ohio State (2012-13) around the years Herman was at those schools as an offensive coordinator. He was Houston’s receivers coach and recruiting coordinator in 2015 before joining Rutgers.

“Some of them are coming from different places,” Herman said Friday after delivering pizza to UT students, “so we’ll know a lot more next week after recruiting stops this weekend and let the dust settle a little bit next week.”

The NCAA-mandated dead period begins on Monday. Coaches are not allowed to contact recruits until Jan. 11. However, recruits can still call coaches.

Herman also sat on the front row at Gregory Gym on Friday as the Texas volleyball team faced BYU in the NCAA tournament.

Also Friday, Brick Haley, UT’s defensive line coach under Charlie Strong, landed a new job at Missouri. Under Haley, the Longhorns led the Big 12 in sacks (3.4 per game) and tackles for loss (7.6) last season.

Staff writers Kirk Bohls and Chris Bils contributed to this article.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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