Head coach Larry Fedora of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles holds up the Conference USA trophy with Ryan Balentine #80 and Tim Green #43 after defeating the Houston Cougars 49-28 at Robertson Stadium on December 3, 2011.
The other news of the day was the sudden explosion of rumors about Southern Miss football coach, which went from UNC hiring him to take over the program, to just the Heels offering him the job, and then later to him accepting it. In fact, at this hour I still don't know where the university stands, as the Associated Press is still saying Fedora is "in talks" with the Heels while other reports say the university is expected to announce his hiring tomorrow.
Fedora and Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham were both in New York City this evening for the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Awards Dinner, and a lot of folks are assuming the interview took place there. Fedora has also been interviewed by Texas A&M and Arizona State while on this trip, which could account for the fact the pace of this hiring has suddenly sped way up. Most of Fedora's family lives in College Station, TX, which makes the A&M job particularly attractive.
Fedora has worked his way up through the coaching ranks, including stints as offensive coordinator for Florida under Ron Zook and Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy. It was in Stillwater that he started drawing attention, as his teams averaged 35 points a game n 2006 and 2007. (They also went 7-6 both years, because the defense, it was not good. But that wasn't Fedora's department.) He was hired at Southern Miss after the 2007 season, and has taken the Golden Eagles to four straight bowl games, culminating in this year's 11-2 record and upset of undefeated Houston in the Conference USA championship game. And if you're curious, he's an underwhelming 2-2 against East Carolina in C-USA play.
Fedora's teams at Southern Miss have had high octane offenses, with the defense typically lagging. He's also gone his entire career with one primary starting quarterback, Austin Davis, with the exception of six games he was out with a foot injury. The rushing defense was typically strong than the secondary, but this is the first season they've done a good job of limiting their opponent's scoring.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves; it's not yet a done deal. Texas A&M is still a tempting job, and Carolina may not be the only offer he gets before leaving the Big Apple.