Cunningham won’t ‘address rumors’ about jobs
North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham acknowledges that coaching speculation “can be detrimental to an athletic program.” Still, he won’t be taking any steps to end the speculation involving UNC football coach Larry Fedora.
Cunningham released a statement Wednesday saying he would continue his policy of not engaging in public discussion surrounding head coaching searches until there is a change in employment status.
“This time each year, there are a number of coaching vacancies in college football and yesterday several rumors included speculation about our own football coach Larry Fedora,” Cunningham said in the statement. “Neither Coach Fedora nor I are going to address rumors about individual jobs that are bound to happen each year.”
Multiple Internet sites, citing anonymous sources, reported that Fedora interviewed for the Tennessee coaching job Tuesday while he was in New York City for the National Football Foundation awards banquet — the same event where he interviewed with Cunningham a year ago.
Fedora went 8-4 in his first year of his seven-year contract with UNC. He was paid roughly $2.5 million in 2012, and must pay a buyout of $2.35 million if he leaves before Jan. 15, 2013, or $1 million if he leaves between Jan. 15, 2003 and Jan. 14, 2004.
Fedora maintained his public silence Wednesday but worked to reassure at least one recruit. Raleigh Wakefield receiver Jordan Fieulleteau said he talked to Fedora on Wednesday, and the coach told him not to believe the rumors and that he’s staying at UNC.
Cornerback Tim Scott and tight end Eric Ebron, who both attended the UNC women’s basketball game Wednesday night, said they hadn’t spoken with Fedora about the Tennessee job, but they expected him to address the players during a regularly scheduled team meeting this afternoon. Both Scott and Ebron expected Fedora to stay at UNC.
“I don’t have any worries,” Scott said.
Fedora’s most recent public speaking appearance was at a Rams Club event Monday night in New York City. According to a person who attended but wished to remain anonymous, Fedora talked about the future of the UNC football program and how much he enjoys Chapel Hill.
However, he was not asked directly about the Tennessee rumors, which were publicized the following day.
Louisville coach Charlie Strong was thought to be the frontrunner for the Tennessee job, but Sports Illustrated reported that Strong is staying with the Cardinals. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy reportedly also has been offered the position.