Larry Fedora is officially out as North Carolina’s head coach. Although there are a number of viable candidates, FootballScoop has been hearing for weeks a whisper within the profession that Mack Brown might be the choice if UNC decided to move on from Fedora.
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) November 25, 2018
On Sunday ESPN’s Tom Luginbill said on Sirius XM radio that Brown would be the next UNC head coach.
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 25, 2018
Brown has worked as an ESPN studio analyst since resigning at Texas after the 2013 season.
Best remembered for his 16-year stint at Texas, Brown is still the second-winningest head coach in North Carolina history, going 69-46-1 from 1988-97. His teams posted four AP top 20 finishes, including a No. 4 mark in 1997 that led to him taking the Texas job.
Hiring Brown could be a budget option for North Carolina, who will pay Fedora $12 million not to coach. Additionally, Brown likely wouldn’t demand significant buyout language; which has to be something that appeals to UNC leadership.
While the possibility of Brown returning to Chapel Hill is well established at this point, the whisper sources have told FootballScoop is that Gene Chizik could hop aboard as Brown’s defensive coordinator.
Chizik worked as Brown’s defensive coordinator for two seasons at Texas, including the 2005 national championship season. That success led him to the Iowa State head job, then to Auburn.
While Chizik has worked as Brown’s defensive coordinator previously, he has also worked as UNC’s defensive coordinator before — and not under Brown. After spending the 2013-14 seasons out of the game, Chizik was Fedora’s defensive coordinator in 2015-16. He has spent the last two years out of coaching, working as an analyst for SEC Network.
Additionally, Chizik could return to Chapel Hill with the understanding that Brown, who will be 68 when the 2019 season kicks off, would only serve as UNC’s head coach for a short time before replacing Bubba Cunningham as athletics director, allowing Chizik to replace Brown as the Tar Heels’ head coach.
There are, obviously, a lot of moving parts to this one, so stay tuned to The Scoop for all the latest.