No movement in UCLA football coaching search
Jim Mora Jr., former coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, remains the focus of UCLA in its search for a football coach.
However, movement toward a resolution, if there was any, took place behind the scenes.
Athletic Director Dan Guerrero was in New York attending the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum, a previously scheduled trip.
Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Miami’s Al Golden were approached by UCLA but were not interested in the job, according to people close to the situation who were not authorized to speak on the subject. Houston’s Kevin Sumlin was spoken with but is no longer a candidate.
Guerrero, in his weekly blog post for donors, wrote, “What you have read and heard is all water cooler talk.” He added that “rumors about me supposedly traveling to some locations, speaking with certain coaches and eliminating others from consideration — nearly all of it not based in fact.”
UCLA officials spoke with Mora about the job this week, but there had been no offer made as of Wednesday night.
— Chris Foster
The new Big East
The Big East Conference introduced Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, Southern Methodist and Central Florida as its newest members, effective in 2013.
“The Big East Conference is the first truly national college football conference,” Commissioner John Marinatto said during a teleconference with officials from the five schools. Boise State President Bob Kustra said the announcement is “a significant step forward in the evolution of Boise State University and our football program.”
The Big East, depleted by the planned departures of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, is trying to rebuild as a 12-team football conference with a western division.
Boise State and San Diego State, which currently play in the Mountain West Conference, will join the Big East only for football. Houston, SMU and Central Florida will be leaving Conference USA and joining the Big East in all sports.
The Big East has also been pursuing Air Force and Navy as football-only members, but it seems Air Force is no longer a possibility. Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, the superintendent of the academy, said the school will stay in the Mountain West.
Fedora to Carolina
Southern Mississippi Coach Larry Fedora accepted an offer to become North Carolina’s next coach, two people familiar with the situation said.
They said the framework of a deal is in place, though it isn’t final. Both spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school isn’t commenting publicly on its search.
Fedora, 49, 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.
The first-time head coach has compiled a 33-19 record in four seasons, and spent the three years before that as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. Fedora, 49, also spent three years as an assistant at Florida and served as offensive coordinator there in 2004.
The NFL Players Assn. will stage the inaugural NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, featuring 100 top draft prospects, on Jan. 21 at the Home Depot Center. The game will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network, the new name for the Versus cable channel starting Jan. 2. Teams will be coached by Tom Flores and Dick Vermeil. … Negotiations between Arizona State and Southern Methodist Coach June Jones broke down. Arizona State had no comment, but Steve Patterson, the athletic department’s chief operating officer, told Houston TV station KRIV that Jones would not be the Sun Devils’ coach.
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