UNC Hires Mack Brown As The Tar Heels Next Football Coach

Nov 25, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 30, 2013 file photo, Texas coach Mack Brown walks onto the field following the Valero Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game against Oregon in San Antonio. Brown coached at UNC from 1988-97 before leaving for Texas, guiding the Tar Heels to their last top-10 ranking before this season.
Credit Eric Gay / AP

Updated 8:55 a.m. Nov. 27, 2018

North Carolina has officially hired Mack Brown as the Tar Heels next football coach.  

Brown is returning to Chapel Hill with the goal of leading another Tar Heel resurgence, the university said in a statement. He will be inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame in December.

Brown won more college football games than any coach in the country over a 24-year period from 1990-2013 and was previously the head coach of the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1997. He led Carolina to three 10-win seasons, six consecutive bowl games and two top-10 AP finishes. At Texas, the Longhorns won the 2005 BCS national title, two conference titles and four Big 12 South Division titles.

"Mack Brown has a proven record of building great teams, and he doesn't just develop football players – he also develops people of strong character," Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "He knows how to win championships, and he expects his student-athletes to win in the classroom and community, as well. We are excited about his plans for our football program, and I am thrilled to welcome Coach Brown and wife Sally back to Chapel Hill." 

Updated 2:33 p.m. Nov. 26, 2018

Two people with knowledge of the situation say North Carolina is negotiating with Mack Brown on a deal to return to Chapel Hill as its next football coach.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the school hasn't publicly commented on its coaching search. One of the people says that the deal is being finalized.

North Carolina has moved quickly to replace Larry Fedora, who was fired on Sunday after seven seasons.

The 67-year-old Brown coached the Tar Heels from 1988-97 before spending 16 seasons at Texas. His last two teams at North Carolina ranked in the top 10 nationally.

He later led the Longhorns to the national championship for 2005. He left Texas in 2013 and has been working in broadcasting.

Inside Carolina first reported news on Brown.

Updated Nov. 25, 2018

North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora is out after seven seasons.

The school announced the decision in a news release Sunday morning. That came less than a day after an overtime loss to rival North Carolina State that dropped the Tar Heels to 2-9 and concluded with a brawl between the teams in the end zone after the Wolfpack scored the winning touchdown.

Fedora's exit completes a swift fall. The program won 11 games and an Atlantic Coast Conference division championship in 2015. UNC slipped to 8-5 the next season and then went 5-18 over the past two seasons marred by injuries, inexperienced players and close losses.

The move will cost UNC about $12 million owed on Fedora's contract that runs through the 2022 season.

Fedora arrived in Chapel Hill before the 2012 season to take over a program at the end of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct. He inherited a one-year postseason ban — which kept the Tar Heels out of the ACC championship game in his debut season — and scholarship reductions yet got the Tar Heels to two straight bowls before a breakout run in 2015 followed by an eight-win season in 2016.

Fedora was athletic director Bubba Cunningham's first major hire with UNC.

"We appreciate all that Larry Fedora has done for us over the last seven years - coming to Carolina in the midst of an NCAA case and bringing stability to our football program when we most needed it," Cunningham said in a statement. "Despite injuries, despite setbacks and hardships, Larry never made excuses. He focused his teams on overcoming adversity, and I deeply respect the way he persevered and led our program each day with integrity through some tough times.

"This was not an easy decision because of the deep affinity I have for Larry. It simply is time to take our football program in a new direction."