It appears that Baylor and Coach Dave Aranda found their guy to run the offense in former Southern Miss/UNC Head Coach and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora, who spent the last season as an offensive analyst under Tom Herman at UT. The rumors had been reported frequently the last few days, but Pete Thamel had the first concrete report followed by Colt Barber of SicEm365.
Sources: Larry Fedora is expected to be the offensive coordinator at Baylor. The former UNC coach spent last season as an analyst at Texas.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 25, 2020
Fedora brings an impressive pedigree and strong offensive and personal reputation to the job. Grant Teaff actually gave Fedora his first college job at Baylor in 1991, and he stayed on under Chuck Reedy until 1996, when he left for the Air Force Academy (and his first coordinator job) for two years. He then turned up again at MTSU in 1999 before being hired by Ron Zook at Florida. After that he joined Mike Gundy’s staff at Oklahoma State for three seasons (2005-2007) before taking the Southern Mississippi Head Coaching job, where he went 12-2 in his fourth and final season, which he then parlayed into 7 seasons as the Head Coach at North Carolina. You may remember that he was the opposing coach in that Russell Athletic Bowl where Johnny Jefferson ran wild. Some say he’s still running, actually. He was also rumored to be in the running for our head job when we hired Coach Rhule in 2016. Finally, Fedora spent the 2019 season working as an analyst on the offensive staff at Texas under Tom Herman and was reportedly in the running, if not the top choice, for their OC job this winter.
I am a big fan of this hire, particularly for a first-year HC in Aranda that is defensively oriented. Fedora provides an experienced coordinator and head coach that can run an offensive staff room for him and has experience in multiple different systems. My guess is that the intent will be to marry the concepts Munoz will bring from LSU with what Fedora likes to do, giving Munoz more experience to set him up for an OC role down the road and Fedora the chance to rehab his imagine so he can get another head job in a couple of years. I’m going to see if Travis could do a deeper dive into what the actual scheme might look like, but from my conversations with him this morning, he seems to love the hire, as well. Fedora’s offenses at Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, and UNC were consistently good, if not excellent at times, and it wasn’t because of offense that his time at UNC ended poorly. It may not have been football/schematic reasons at all considering the NCAA cloud hanging over their athletic department for several years and the difficulty of recruiting there in the first place. Fedora was born and raised in Texas and got his start in coaching in Texas HS football, still has connections all over the state, and was considered a strong recruiter as an assistant and coordinator. Plus he’s spent the last year analyzing Big 12 defenses, so the learning curve should be smaller. What’s not to like?
With Fedora at the helm of the offense and likely working directly with QBs (I mean, he put Mitch Trubisky in the league as the #2 pick), it appears that we have at least two staff positions remaining open at OL and RB coach. I would bet that he intends to bring Joe Wickline, who worked for or with him from 1999-2007 at MTSU, Florida, and Oklahoma State, in to coach the OL. Wickline was famously part of Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas in a stint that didn’t exactly go well but also has a strong past reputation as a coach and recruiter. I know the UT sites did a whole slew of positive articles about him in 2014 that we can probably dig up.
Aside from the actual on-field and/or coaching aspect of this hire, what strikes me is the continued investment it represents by Baylor and Mack Rhoades in making sure that Coach Aranda has the best staff possible regardless the cost. This is only the latest move in a truly incredible series of investments in Baylor Football under Coach Aranda, and no, it’s not just us spending that sweet, sweet Carolina buyout money for Matt Rhule.
Welcome to Baylor, Coach Fedora! If you want to throw him a follow on Twitter, he’s simply @CoachFedora right now. That’s easy enough!
UPDATE: David Smoak of ESPN 1660 says it’s not a done deal yet, and Baylor and Fedora are still working out contract details. That’s likely due to the fact that UNC is still paying his buyout, which will probably be offset by whatever he makes in another job like this one.