CHAPEL HILL — Larry Fedora and Gunter Brewer spent three seasons working together at Oklahoma State, where Brewer often told Fedora about his time working as an assistant football coach at North Carolina.
"There were many times, many conversations that Gunter and I had," Fedora said Tuesday. "You know, him saying that North Carolina is the best place he's ever been at ... and so obviously that planted a seed in my mind."
UNC introduced Fedora as its football coach last month; Tuesday, he introduced his staff of assistant coaches - a group that includes Brewer, who coached at UNC from 2000 through 2004. Brewer will serve as the Tar Heels' receivers coach and passing game coordinator.
Blake Anderson, who served under Fedora for four years at Southern Mississippi, will be UNC's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Dan Disch and Vic Koenning will run the defense.
Disch, who worked with Fedora at Southern Mississippi, carries the title of defensive coordinator. Koenning, who most recently coached at Illinois, is UNC's associate head coach for defense.
"We haven't ironed all that out, to be honest with you," Fedora said when asked how the defensive coaching responsibilities would be divided between Disch and Koenning. But Fedora praised their ability to work well with one another, recounting the time Disch and Koenning spent working on the same staff at Illinois.
Fedora's staff at UNC also includes Deke Adams (defensive line coach), Walt Bell (tight ends), David Duggan (defensive assistant and special teams coordinator) and Chris Kapilovic (offensive line).
Fedora has yet to hire a running backs coach.
"I've got some guys that I've targeted there, and I think that should come together here in the next couple of weeks," he said.
Of the eight assistants Fedora introduced Tuesday, he has worked previously with all of them except Koenning. Fedora brought six coaches with him from his staff at Southern Mississippi, which last month won the Conference USA championship in Fedora's fourth season there.
Fedora and his staff will meet next Monday with UNC's returning players when they return from winter break. Fedora said each of his assistants already has had contact with players from their position segments.
The primary focus of Fedora and his staff, though, will be on recruiting. With national signing day looming early next month, UNC has significant work to do on the recruiting trail. Rivals.com ranks the Tar Heels' incoming class the ninth-best in the ACC. However, UNC also is waiting to learn what additional sanctions, if any, it will face from the NCAA in the wake of an investigation into impermissible benefits and academic fraud.
The university already placed itself on two years of probation and reduced football scholarships, but Fedora said the "unknown" of what additional penalties might await has made recruiting more difficult.
"I think the unknown is the toughest thing, because as long as there's this unknown sitting out there, that's what everybody's going to use. They're going to make it the worst-case scenario possible," Fedora said. "Where really that's not what it's going to be."
Not long after Fedora's hiring became official at UNC, he called his old friend and colleague, Brewer. The conversation didn't last long.
"I had opportunities to have some other roles at some other schools that required some coordinator things and a lot more zeros past the dollar sign," said Brewer, who coached at Mississippi for the 2011 season. "And this far outweighed (those options). It wasn't even a choice."
Koenning, the former defensive coordinator at Illinois, said he had other options, too. What led him to UNC, he said, was UNC's reputation and his respect for Fedora - a coach who Koenning said he admired from afar.
Koenning worked under Tommy Bowden as the defensive coordinator at Clemson between 2005 and 2008.
"I've talked to Tommy Bowden about it a good bit, and he always felt like this was one of the best places in the world," Koenning said. "So I trust what he tells me a lot."