In-state talent priority for Fedora in recruiting
Posted December 12, 2011
Chapel Hill, N.C. — Keeping the university’s name in conversation and keeping the local talent in state are two priorities for Larry Fedora, who was named the new head football coach for the University of North Carolina last week.
“We have to create some momentum and we have to keep that momentum rolling,” said Fedora Monday joining Mark Thomas on Mark and Mike, The Insiders, on 620 AM The Buzz. “That’s very important, that people are talking about UNC football across the state because we’re behind in recruiting right now. We’ve got a long way to go. Of the top 15 players in the state of North Carolina, none of them are committed to North Carolina and that’s crazy.”
He himself may not be crazy, but Fedora showed the fans and supporters of Chapel Hill during his introductory press conference Friday that he doesn’t lack energy or enthusiasm. Fedora made it clear during the 45-minute reception that UNC is a marketable product and that players should want to play at the school – especially in-state players.
“All the great players in the state of North Carolina have to come to the University of North Carolina,” Fedora reiterated Monday. “We have a great product to sell, it’s getting out there and building relationships with those kids, their high school coaches, their families and making sure they can reach every dream and goal that they have right there in the state.”
Fedora said he will stay clear of the Independence Bowl on Dec. 26, allowing interim head coach Everett Withers to finish what he started this year but then get to the campus and get to work shortly thereafter.
“Coach Withers and that staff have done a tremendous job in such very difficult conditions throughout the entire year,” Fedora said. “I don’t want to take away from anything that they are doing.”
Fedora will be coaching his last game with Southern Miss Dec. 24 in the Hawaii Bowl. After guiding his team to an 11-2 record this season and four consecutive winning seasons in Hattiesburg, Miss., Fedora said that leaving his team was one of the hardest things he’s ever done.
“It was very difficult because it was my first head coaching job and I poured my heart and soul into this program,” Fedora said. “I love each and every one of these kids and I always will. And I’m going to be there for them the rest of their lives.”
The new UNC head coach said that a winning season and a bowl appearance will not be considered a successful year as the UNC program moves forward. His goals are loftier and resemble a Tar Heels coach of the past.
“When you’re winning 11 games you are doing something right,” Fedora said. “Mack (Brown) had a lot of guys on his roster from the state of North Carolina. He did a great job of getting kids to stay at home. .. We have to have in the kids in the state of North Carolina wanting to be at the University of North Carolina.”
Summing up how he plans on keeping players in-state, Fedora said a big part of it is keeping people talking about it.
“Everybody that’s out there listening, they have to create a buzz across the entire state about what’s going on at the University of North Carolina,” Fedora said. “They have to keep that going; it’s got to be talked about at the beauty salons, at the barber shops, at the feed stores, at the gas stations. Everybody has to be talking about North Carolina football and every one of those recruits, whether it’s their aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, moms and dads, they hear that positiveness and you know what, it starts piquing their interest.”