If you didn't happen to turn on ESPN yesterday, was off Twitter or not really alive in any way, you missed the report that Mack Brown might be stepping down as the head coach of Texas after 16 years. The potential opening of one of the marquee jobs in college football could set off a domino effect of coaches jumping from various schools. It also means several coaches will get fatter paychecks as schools move to keep their coaches happy.
With the coaching carousel starting to spin there are two very predictable things that will happen. Larry Fedora's future will be speculated on and Butch Davis will take another PR stab at making himself a viable candidate for a college football job.
As was the case last year Fedora's name is going to get tossed around quite a bit. It has already happened with early speculation on the Texas job by ESPN's Brett McMurphy. During an appearance on ESPN's Sportscenter early Wednesday morning, McMurphy said Fedora might have an "outside shot" at the job and "has ties to the university." The ties McMurphy is likely referring to is Fedora's daughter who is a student at Texas. Fedora also hails from Texas and his father was barber for 40 years in College Station.Then there is this interesting tidbit from WTVD's Mark Armstrong.
I know for a fact that Fedora was hoping for a big season at UNC this year to position himself for Texas. 6-6 and the Belk Bowl?...— Myrrh Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) December 11, 2013
That Fedora news shouldn't be a shock. He's from Texas, Texas job was gonna be opening up, of course he'd want it.— Myrrh Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) December 11, 2013
It also shouldn't come as a shock since Fedora is still widely regarded as a good coach, the current 6-6 season notwithstanding. The problem for him right now is perception. It would be very tough to sell him to the Texas fan base given his current record. That probably means Fedora won't be a serious contender for the job unless Texas misses on candidates with a better track record at more traditional football powers. And one shouldn't discount the possibility that Fedora's name is being fed to the media for a variety of reasons such as giving him exposure as a "candidate" for a big job or creating leverage for a pay raise.
And if Bubba Cunningham is thinking about giving Fedora an extension, it would be nice if Butch Davis' buyout came off the books a year early. The former Tar Heel head coach has fired up the image rehab tour hoping to get a shot at coaching in college football again. His latest reminder that his name was never mentioned in multiple investigations of UNC's football and academic troubles comes via Bruce Feldman at CBS Sports.
The article reads about like you would expect with the added bonus of Dick Baddour making sure everyone knows firing Davis wasn't his idea. Davis reiterates how he was never officially implicated in wrongdoing at UNC going as far as to provide a letter from the NCAA stating as much. For good measure he even seeks to distance himself even further from John Blake who is presently serving a five year show cause penalty from the NCAA. And ultimately this is all fine. Davis clearly wants to get back into the college game and that's tough to do when you have the stigma of having been fired from a program that got into deep NCAA trouble on your watch.
The debate will go on forever concerning what Davis knew, how much he knew and when he knew it. The official investigations all say he's clear. However from a perception standpoint he is still a coach who was fired from a football program in deep trouble with the NCAA. Regardless of what the multiple investigations say, there will be plenty of people who still think Davis had to know something about what was happening or at the very least what John Blake was about. As some have pointed out the fact Davis had now indicted tutor Jennifer Wiley in his employ for a period of time is never mentioned but certainly has to been taking into consideration.
Then there is this very astute point from our own T.H.
@tarheelblog Has he considered that pointing the finger at, well, everybody but him isn’t the best way to endear yourself to employers?— Carolina March (@carolinamarch) December 11, 2013
As far as UNC is concerned, Davis taking a job somewhere is a win-win for everyone since the school still owes the former head coach approximately $1.1 million in the form of two $590,000 payments due on January 15th in 2014 and 2015. If Davis takes a coaching job then these payments would be reduced against the salary at his new position.
Editor's note: Edited to add an additional point in the seventh paragraph.