The staff here at Keeping It Heel got together to look back on 2012 and celebrate the top contributors to the athletic program at the great University of North Carolina. Today we will celebrate the greatest achievements in the year that is now behind us and honor those who helped make it memorable. Here we’ll look at our choice for coach of the year Tar Heel football head coach Larry Fedora. Be sure to check back later for the rest of the series where we honor the female athlete of the year, the coach of the year, game of the year, play of the year, team of the year and even the professional alumni of the year. To view portions of this series published so far click HERE.
Larry Fedora took over a North Carolina football program in shambles in the wake of a scandal that costs them scholarships and the chance to compete in a bowl game in his first season as coach. The odds were greatly stacked against him, it’s not easy to motivate a team that cannot compete for anything at the end of the regular season, it’s hard to make the play for pride of the program motto stick for an entire season.
But that is just what Fedora did, Fedora did an excellent job of keeping this teams spirits up and getting them to buy into a completely different scheme that most of them weren’t recruited to play in. He installed his up tempo spread offense that is absolutely grueling for offensive players to run. His system required an intense training camp that taxed and challenged the players both physically and mentally, yet he made it work.
He made his offense into one of the best in the country despite having a quarterback that isn’t a traditional spread type of passer, one that did not have the running ability that Fedora favors. Fedora put together an 8-4 record and gave promise to a program many have written off giving the University hope that one day UNC won’t be known as just a basketball (and as Dean Smith used to say Womens Soccer) school.
On the recruiting front Fedora came in and did perhaps his most impressive work by restoring pride to keeping players in state as he went hard after North Carolina prospects. Through hard work and dedication to his vision of what he called the North Carolina Dream Team, Fedora put together a nationally ranked class with a ton of talented prospects headed to Chapel Hill in the 2013 class. Fedora also had success outside the state giving hope that he can make UNC a place that top prospects around the country want to come and play football.
Carolina isn’t a national powerhouse yet and they still have a long ways to go before they get there but so far the energy and work Fedora has put in has gone a long way. In the days of conference realignment that we are in dominated and driven by football income the ACC needs schools like North Carolina to become relevant and bring respectability to the conference on the gridiron to avoid the death of our great conference. Carolina can no longer survive as just a basketball school and they’ve put a lot of faith in the hands of Larry Fedora who in our opinions has done more than expected in his first year as head football coach earning him our coach of the year honor.