UNC focusing on Fedora for football coach position

Days after he led Southern Miss to the Conference USA title, Larry Fedora has emerged as a leading candidate for Tar Heels

acarter@newsobserver.comDecember 7, 2011 

In one instant Bruce Fedora said he'd heard nothing. In the next, he said he'd heard everything. Perhaps only in the strange world of a coaching search could the two realities coexist.

Asked during a phone interview Tuesday whether his older brother, Larry, was set to become the football coach at North Carolina - or anywhere else - Bruce Fedora said, "I haven't heard anything."

Asked whether he'd heard the rumors swirling around his brother, the coach at Southern Mississippi, Bruce laughed and said, "Oh, I've heard them."

There have been plenty, after all. Days after he led Southern Miss to the Conference USA championship, Larry Fedora has emerged as the leading candidate to become North Carolina's new coach.

Officials at both schools declined to comment about speculation that suggested Fedora had already been offered the chance to coach the Tar Heels. Fedora and North Carolina athletics director Bubba Cunningham were scheduled to both be in New York City Tuesday night to attend a National Football Foundation banquet, and media reports on Fedora's future continued to proliferate over the course of the evening.

Rams Club executive director John Montgomery and Wade Hargrove, the chairman of UNC's board of trustees, did not return multiple calls and messages seeking comment. Reached again at about 10:15 p.m., Bruce Fedora said his family had yet to hear any word from his brother about a potential move anywhere.

Mark Paschal, a former Tar Heels football player turned NFL agent, fueled speculation earlier in the day when he wrote on his Twitter account "Fedora (is) expected to be named head coach later today at UNC."

Paschal represents former Tar Heels quarterback T.J. Yates. Paschal later clarified his original tweet. He wrote: "Fedora has been offered job at UNC - no indication as of now that he will be announced as new (coach) today. I was misinformed (about) announcement."

Back in Texas, where the Fedoras are natives of College Station, Bruce Fedora characterized the speculation surrounding his brother as "crazy." He said he had received a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know if Larry Fedora was about to be named coach at North Carolina.

And what about Texas A&M, which also has an opening for a head coach?

The same speculation that has swirled around Fedora and North Carolina has also linked him to the Aggies' vacancy.

A website that covers Texas A&M, AggieSports.com, reported Texas A&M had also interviewed Fedora, 49, who has coached at Southern Miss since 2008.

After consecutive 7-6 seasons, the Golden Eagles finished 8-5 in 2010 and are 11-2 this season. They will play Nevada on Dec. 24 in the Hawaii Bowl.

According to USA Today's database of college football coaching salaries, Fedora receives an annual salary of $704,500, with a possible bonus of $387,500.

The Fedora family's roots are just miles from the Texas A&M campus in College Station. Bruce Fedora, who had been living in Austin, said he recently moved back to College Station to be closer to family. Bruce Fedora said he and other members of his family often traveled to see Larry Fedora coach at Southern Miss.

"It's been hard with Larry because since he left Baylor he's been out of state," Bruce said. "We always make the trips. But driving to Mississippi has been tough."

Still, Bruce didn't mean that to be an indication of which way his brother might be leaning. Or what his decision might be - if he has a decision to make.

"I know as much as other people reporting on the internet," Bruce Fedora said. "You know how the internet it is."

Bruce Fedora said he met with his father, Herb, early Tuesday morning. Amid all the rumors and speculation, Bruce was hoping his father might have some good information - something real.

"I thought he was going to tell me something," Bruce said. "And he didn't."

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