North Carolina has lost five of its first six games. It has encountered unprecedented injury problems. Its offense has struggled like it never has before in Larry Fedora's six-season head coaching tenure.
And so it's only natural that Fedora is looking for a change. Any change.
He made one to his appearance, at least, on Monday morning. Fedora woke up and shaved his beard.
“Change-up,” said Fedora, who didn’t seem too keen on any beard-discussion. “That's it. Just change-up.”
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Fedora had worn a beard since the summer of 2016, months after the Tar Heels won the ACC's Coastal Division. At the time, he said the beard was the result of “just a little bit of summer relaxation.” His daughters had encouraged him to go with it.
And now, about a year and a half later, the beard is no more. Fedora isn't superstitious, he said. He doesn't believe that the beard brought him any mysterious powers, nor does he believe that shaving it will help solve the Tar Heels' myriad woes. And yet he needs things to change. Going beard-less is a change.
“I don’t believe that the beard will have anything to do with our play,” said Fedora, whose Tar Heels on Saturday against Virginia will seek to end an eight-game losing streak against major-conference opponents. “I really don’t. If that was the case I’d have done it a long time ago.”
When Fedora grew the beard, he said, in jest, that one of the advantages was that his wife could wake up to a new face. Now that it was gone, someone asked Fedora at the end of his Monday press conference whether his wife liked the new, old look.
“She hasn’t seen it,” he said. “She won’t see me until the radio show tomorrow.”