By Aaron Beard/The Associated Press
Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora has accepted an offer to become North Carolina’s next football coach, two people familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
They said the framework of a deal is in place, though it isn’t final yet. Both spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school isn’t commenting publicly on its search.
Fedora has guided the 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles (11-2) to a school record for wins, with the last coming over the weekend against unbeaten Houston in the Conference USA championship game. He has compiled a 33-19 record in four seasons there.
Fedora and Southern Miss athletic director Richard Giannini didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. Southern Miss athletic spokesman Jack Duggan said no announcement was scheduled and he wasn’t aware of any team meetings.
The Tar Heels were looking for a permanent coach to replace Butch Davis, who was fired shortly before training camp amid an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct within the program. The school then promoted defensive coordinator Everett Withers to interim coach.
Withers led the team to a 5-1 start, though the Tar Heels stumbled down the stretch by losing four of six.
Withers said Monday that he interviewed for the job last week. He said he wouldn’t let the uncertainty about his future be a distraction for the Tar Heels as they prepare for a fourth straight bowl game.
He also said he planned to coach the bowl game regardless of his status.
Southern Miss faces Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24. North Carolina (7-5) plays Missouri in the Independence Bowl two days later. It wasn’t immediately clear who would coach the teams in the bowl games.
AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this report.