On the day of one of the most important football games in school history, North Carolina has agreed in principle to a contract extension with coach Larry Fedora, athletics director Bubba Cunningham said on Saturday.
Cunningham, in an interview with The News & Observer, said the university and Fedora had agreed to a four-year extension that will keep him under contract as the Tar Heels coach through the 2022 season. Fedora had three years remaining on his current contract.
Financial details of the agreement are being finalized and weren’t ready to be announced, Cunningham said. The UNC Board of Trustees would formally have to approve of Fedora’s extension, and the financial terms, but that is expected to be a formality.
News of the extension should quell any speculation that Fedora, amid an 11-1 season, would entertain another job offer. The Tar Heels play against Clemson in the ACC Championship game Saturday night. UNC is seeking its first ACC title since 1980.
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“Coach Fedora has done an outstanding job of leading our football program and I am pleased that he has agreed to be our coach well into the next decade,“ Cunningham said in a statement. “He has helped to lift Carolina football into the national discussion and put our program in a position to compete for championships on a consistent basis while also allowing our student-athletes to succeed in the classroom and have a positive impact in the community.”
Given UNC’s success this season, Fedora has been seen as a potential candidate at a number of schools with coaching vacancies. During his pre-ACC Championship game press conference on Friday, Fedora received a question about the head coaching vacancy at South Carolina.
“You know what, I wouldn’t talk about it if any school reached out to me,” Fedora said. “All I’m going to talk about is what we’re doing here and playing Clemson for the ACC Championship, and if it was six weeks ago and you asked me that question, I wouldn’t have answered it then, either.
“I don’t answer to rumors.”
His contract extension appears to have answered any questions about his immediate future at UNC. Fedora agreed to the extension on Saturday, Cunningham said, though the financial details were still being finalized. Fedora’s salary this season is $1.9 million, which includes a $200,000 bonus if he’s UNC’s coach on Jan. 15, 2016.
UNC and Fedora has been in talks during the past week to extend his contract.
“I’m delighted what Larry has done,” Lowry Caudill, a member of UNC’s Board of Trustees, said earlier in the week. “And (I) hope that he’s our coach for the future and we hope he’s our coach for a long, long time to come.”