It seems Major Applewhite has been training for this moment most of his life.
From his time as a college quarterback to being an assistant coach at Syracuse, Texas, Alabama and Houston, Applewhite has spent years developing his coaching philosophy.
As a student of the game, he worked with coaching greats Nick Saban and Mack Brown. Applewhite also has worked worked side-by-side with elite assistant coaches, including Manny Diaz and Bryan Harsin.
Applewhite's coaching style will finally be put to the test as he takes over as the head coach at Houston.
"It's a learning experience with new responsibilities, but it's an experience that I've been trained for," Applewhite said. "I've been very blessed to work with great head coaches and great assistant coaches."
Applewhite earned his first head coaching opportunity after Tom Herman was hired by Texas. Applewhite spent the past two seasons as the Cougars' offensive coordinator, helping lead the program to a 22-5 record and a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory over Florida State in 2015.
Earning a college head coaching job has been a part of Applewhite's plan for a long time.
"That started back in I don't know 2008, 2009 or 2010 – somewhere around in there," Applewhite said when asked when he started preparing to become a head coach.
"If you want to be a head coach, there are certain things that you're going to have to have in terms of philosophy and it's not just a shiny, glossy PowerPoint. It's a firm belief in what you think and what you believe is the best way to run a college football program."
Many of those beliefs were formed during his time as an assistant coach.
"I've been very blessed in my young career to work around really, really, really successful coaches and there are some things you take from each of those coaches that are good and bad so to speak. And then you have to pay attention to where you are and what fits," he said.
"There are certain things that are really, really good that I learned at Alabama that may not fit at Houston. But there are some things that are really, really good that do fit. Same thing at Texas or Syracuse, Rice or wherever there are certain things that fit and you take those and implement them."
Applewhite has implemented some of his philosophies during his first three months at Houston. His approach to the game helped the Cougars land a recruiting class that was fourth among the American Athletic Conference schools. The recruits will join a slew of starters returning from last season.
He is now working to mold the group into AAC title contenders.
"The first expectation is in how we want to practice. How we want to practice is vital to what we're practicing. There is just a culture and an environment that you want to create," Applewhite said of expectations for the players this spring, adding that he and his staff have created a sense of competition among the players.
"Every day we have winners and losers in our team drills. There is always a scoreboard. I just found that over the years that I've been coaching, that it's difficult to get 18-to-20 year-olds in spring ball to feel the sense of urgency of a game and bring the excitement and energy level when the season is a long way away."
Through it all, there have been challenges for the first-time head coach.
"The thing that stood out right at bat was the fact I'm not going to have that much time to do football if I have to do all of these other things," Applewhite said. "Because I want to do football and I want to be involved in football, I have to set out a clear vision of what I want this to look like."
For Applewhite, that includes making the most out of your time and surrounding yourself with the right type of people.
"I have to set out in the staff meeting a clear vision as what the day should look like, explain the details and be thorough with it so that when the meeting is over, there is no miscommunication," he said.
"Now, I can lead that meeting and trust the people that work really, really hard to get that done."