With the North Carolina football program sinking to a 2-9 record after a difficult 34-28 overtime loss to rival North Carolina State today, multiple sources within the North Carolina program have suggested the the program will soon replace Larry Fedora as the head coach, according to 247Sports.
The 56-year-old Fedora is 45-43 in his seven-year tenure at North Carolina. He has the fifth-best win total among North Carolina football coaches, but the program has fallen on hard times the past two seasons, posting identical 1-7 records in the ACC each year. Their 2-9 record this year is North Carolina’s worst performance since the 2003 season.
Fedora came to North Carolina in December of 2011 after guiding Southern Miss to a Conference USA title that season. In his first season, Fedora turned the Tar Heels program into a winner, finishing with an 8-4 record. From there Fedora guided North Carolina to four straight bowl games, including an 11-win season in 2015 in which the Tar Heels were undefeated in the ACC during the regular season. Fedora’s team won 19 games from 2015 to 2016, marking the program’s highest win total in back-to-back season since Hall of Famer Mack Brown guided North Carolina to 21 wins in 1996 and 1997.
During Fedora’s tenure at North Carolina, the program has set over 100 single-season and career offensive records, including a remarkable 2015 season in which the program scored a record 570 points and 73 touchdowns, with a record 40.7 points-per-game average. Nineteen of Fedora’s North Carolina players have gone on to play in the NFL, including four first-round draft picks. Last year, the Chicago Bears selected North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick.
Going back to the 2016 season, the wheels have since fallen off Fedora’s program at North Carolina. The Tar Heels have lost 21 of 27 games in that time, including a 3-21 record against FBS competition and a 2-16 record in the ACC.
Following the record-setting 2015 regular season, Fedora signed a seven-year contract extension through 2022 that included favorable buyout terms. North Carolina will have to pay Fedora $12.4 million should they decide to replace him. North Carolina would be able to recoup some of that money should Fedora take another college or NFL coaching job, or work as a television commentator.
North Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said in a text message that “no decision” had been made on whether Fedora would be fired, according to the News and Observer. According to SB Nation, there is rampant speculation that Fedora will be replaced by Mack Brown, who guided the Tar Heels to one of their most successful runs in school history before going on to win a national championship at Texas. Public rumors have named Brown as a potential replacement, while UNC boosters are also keen to bring the former coach and current ESPN analyst back to Chapel Hill.