College football: North Carolina fires Fedora; Kingsbury out at Texas Tech

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora reacts during the second half of an overtime loss to North Carolina State on Nov. 24.
(Gerry Broome / Associated Press)

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

The school announced the decision in a news release 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.

Fedora’s exit completes a swift fall. The program won 11 games and an Atlantic Coast Conference division championship in 2015, but UNC went 5-18 over two subsequent seasons marred by injuries, inexperienced players and close losses.

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

In a statement, athletic director Bubba Cunningham said it “simply is time to take our football program in a new direction.”


Kliff Kingsbury out at Texas Tech

Kliff Kingsbury has been fired at Texas Tech after the former record-setting Red Raiders quarterback had a losing overall record in his six seasons as their head coach.

Athletic director Kirby Hocutt announced the move in a news release Sunday, a day after the Red Raiders finished their third consecutive losing season with a 35-24 loss to Baylor when they had a chance to get bowl eligible. That was their fifth straight loss after a 5-2 start this year.

Kingsbury finished with a 35-40 record. The Red Raiders were 19-35 in the Big 12 games during that span.

The Red Raiders started 7-0 in Kingsbury’s debut in 2013. They finished 8-5, capped by a win over Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, for what ended up being his best season.

Lovie Smith gets extension after 4-8 season

Illinois has extended the contract of coach Lovie Smith for two years through 2023 after the Illini finished his third season with four victories.

Athletic director Josh Whitman announced the deal Sunday. Whitman hired Smith, the former NFL head coach who led the Bears to the Super Bowl, soon after he was named AD in 2016.

Smith is 9-27 in three seasons with the Illini and 4-23 in the Big Ten, but there were clear signs of progress this season for an inexperienced team that went 2-10 and winless in the Big Ten in 2017. Smith’s original deal was for six years and $21 million.

In a statement, Whitman cited “development of our current players and the talent we are adding to our roster” as reasons to commit to stability.