This is a rite of passage for UNC football. If the Tar Heels reach a point where the program starts experiencing any sort of measurable success, the clamoring for whoever the current head coach is will start in earnest. This happened a bit after Fedora's first season when the Tennessee job was open and the Tar Heels coming off an eight win season. Over the past two seasons with UNC getting out to poor starts, the interest in Fedora has cooled a bit.
Now that the Tar Heels are 6-1 and in the thick of the Coastal Division race, Fedora is again a viable candidate for supposedly better jobs. On Sunday, Miami fired Al Golden after the Hurricanes were run over by Clemson 58-0. That loss was the worst in school history. As a general rule a coach on the hot seat who sees his team walloped 58-0 isn't going to survive. At that point it becomes not if but when. As the saying goes: "Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today?"
It didn't take long for Fedora's name to pop up or in SI.com's case, he was already mentioned before the Miami administration pulled the trigger.
Or what about North Carolina’s Larry Fedora, who has been trying to recruit and coach through a scandal he had nothing to do with but also can’t escape? Under other circumstances, he might already have the better job. But now? He might listen
Larry Fedora: This season’s turnaround at North Carolina will help him if he’s looking for an escape hatch from Chapel Hill, where the African American Studies scandal still looms over the athletic department. Fedora is a Texas guy but coached at Florida between 2002-04 and has some Jimmy Johnson-style swagger to him that might fit well with those who embrace “The U.”
One particular annoyance here is the focus on the AFAM academic scandal as though it is still active or that we don't have at least some feel for where it is going. Two years ago citing the academic scandal as a reason for Fedora to find another job would have been a more accurate read. Making it the primary factor for Fedora to jump ship now is a tad lazy.
While the NCAA's final decision on UNC's still pending infractions case could create more issues for football, the uncertainty isn't as much of a hindrance for Fedora as it is for Roy Williams. With football players need to stay three years anyway so the possibility of a one year postseason ban isn't nearly as daunting. In basketball elite players are operating with shorter timetables in college and the NCAA Tournament is an essential showcase for them. At this point the scandal might have some residual impact on football but probably not enough to prompt Fedora to look for another job.
If Fedora wants to leave Chapel Hill for a different job it will be because that other job is a legitimate step up for him career wise. Miami isn't that right now for a variety of reason not the least of which is it might be easier to win the Coastal Division right now at UNC than it would be at Miami. Fedora has solid momentum at this point in Chapel Hill and could be on the way to a nine or ten win season. Walking away from that to take on a rebuild at a school where the game day fan support is even more tepid than in Chapel Hill doesn't seem likely.
If UNC manages a nine or ten win season, the frequency of Fedora's name being mentioned will increase as more college football coaches are fired or resign. If the Tar Heels manage to beat Pitt, Duke and Miami over the next three weeks, Bubba Cunningham should probably start sizing Fedora up for a contract extension. At some point Fedora may very well opt to take a job elsewhere but it appears unlikely Miami will be it.