Larry Fedora convinced a North Carolina recruit "100 percent" that Fedora will remain the Tar Heels' coach. ROBERT WILLETT
CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora has declined publicly to dispel speculation about whether he might be interested in the coaching vacancy at Tennessee, but a recent conversation with him left one of his recruits convinced he’ll remain the Tar Heels coach.
Jordan Fieulleteau, a wide receiver at Wakefield High in Raleigh, told The News & Observer he spoke with Fedora for about 10 minutes Wednesday. Fieulleteau had been concerned, he said, amid speculation that Fedora might interview for Tennessee job.
Fieulleteau said he initiated the phone call with Fedora.
“I was just like, you can be straight up with me,” Fieulleteau said. “I was like, I committed to you, and the school, so I just feel like – let me know, are you going to leave? And he was like, ‘No. That’s all rumors.’
“He plans on staying at UNC for many years to come and (told me) not to worry about it, not to listen to what everybody else is saying.”
Fieulleteau committed to UNC in February. According to Rivals.com, he also had scholarship offers from Duke and East Carolina, and he had received interest from N.C. State, Rutgers and other schools.
Fieulleteau said Fedora downplayed speculation about his job status, and that he did the same when Fieulleteau visited the UNC campus last weekend.
“I had talked to him on Saturday when I was up at UNC, and the rumors had already been started by then, so I was just asking him. He was just like, ‘I plan on staying at UNC the rest of my career,’ you know. I mean, he wants to build something at UNC.”
Fieulleteau said he left Wednesday’s phone conversation feeling convinced Fedora would stay.
“I know he’ll honor his word. He’s a man of his word. You can’t just talk to a kid and tell him – not make him a promise, but tell him something and then go back on your word. So I’m 100 percent confident that he’ll stay at UNC,” Fieulleteau said.
Earlier Wednesday, UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham released a statement saying neither he nor Fedora would comment on job speculation. ESPN.com and Volquest.com reported Tuesday that Tennessee was expected to interview Fedora.
“It’s been my policy since I have been a director of athletics not to comment or engage in discussions regarding a coach’s job until such time that there is a change in a coach’s employment status,” Cunningham said. “Speculation about the future employment status of a head coach can be detrimental to an athletic program.
“I frequently communicate with our head coaches about what they need to be successful at North Carolina. Whether a coach is highly successful or under inordinate pressure, it has been my policy to keep those conversations confidential and I will continue my policy to not engage in any public discussion or speculation regarding employment. We work together to provide the best opportunities for our coaches and student-athletes.”