Musical ACC membership chairs is already in full swing. Now we have musical ACC football coaching chairs. The latest in the ACC’s revolving door has Tennessee talking with current ACC coach Larry Fedora and future ACC coach Charlie Strong of Louisville. Why? Because of their records this year.
We will know soon what is going on. In the end, look for Fedora to leave despite Strong’s better resume.
The theft of college football coaches is and has been far more prevalent than the theft of teams because of their much greater number.
The reasoning here is not just that Fedora is interested in more money, which no doubt awaits him in Knoxville. More important is competing in the SEC. But critical to his decision will be that Fedora will not be as successful a recruiter as Davis in states that might otherwise be attracted to the Tennessee Volunteers over Tar Heel nation.
He can blame part of this on the ACC and part on the Davis legacy of sanctions. In fact, Fedora may know more than the public at the moment about future sanctions and this may also be part of the reason he will leave. The statements made to get him regarding sanctions and their factual bases may not have been entirely accurate. We may never know about any of this.
What is key here is the way this has been negotiated. In silence. Without the smallest statement of loyalty. For my part, let the guy leave.
Caulton Tudor’s column in the Charlotte Observer claims that it would somehow be wrong for Fedora to leave, and that UNC should offer him no more money.
In the coaching game, we plainly see what money can do every day. A recent example is LSU’s Les Miles offer for more money from Arkansas, which was intentionally made public for further negotiations in a contract ultimately sweetened for Miles to stay on at LSU. Money is naturally involved and Fedora is worth what the market can bear. Tudor’s position here is nonsense.
His column is also nonsense in terms of why Fedora should be happy, suggesting without saying that the $400,000 signing bonus somehow means Fedora is stuck at UNC. Come on, Tudor. Get with the times. That much money is chump change.
There are some things that Fedora needs to consider, however. Tennessee is a wasteland of football coaching. You almost need to be Volunteer and Tennessee bred to make it there. And even then, other jobs beckon.
Also, Tennessee is just not fertile recruiting ground for football. UNC and North Carolina are.
Finally, coaching is not just the up and leave type of job you can easily fit into the world of college football recruiting. If you tried to do so, you will ultimately fail. You need some presence and staying power. There is a reason that the SEC is so strong, Notre Dame is returning to their former glory years, and the future of football in the ACC is bright.
Their coaches have stayed for three years or more, long enough to fill their rosters with their own recruits and show they can be long-term successes.
Fedora has SEC and Tennessee ties. He was a coach at Middle Tennessee State, just an hour and a half from Chattanooga. And being in North Carolina helps him recruit there even if he moves to the state’s next door neighbor.
The silence from Fedora is deafening. But Miles was also silent until he had a new contract at LSU.
Still, on balance, Tennessee gets its man. And UNC falls deeper into turmoil.
Remind me. Why did the Tar Heels fire Butch Davis? Was he really at fault? What would Davis’ record have been this year had he not been fired?
So where does UNC go next for a coach and what coach would take the job at this point, with four different head coaches in four years.
Many “lesser” school coaches would love a chance to join a program not in complete decline. So far, UNC is not in complete decline, has a great arsenal of players, and should be a winning program next year.
Look for finding a new coach to go very quickly and successfully. There are plenty available, some just up the road.
And look for inserting a non-compete clause in the new coaches contract.
The Tar Heels cannot afford this coaching change, much less another one that occurs after next season.