If the UCLA coaching search keeps going at this pace, we could be in for a disastrously long time before we find one competent enough to take the reigns. And because it could be a while — our Athletic Director, Dan Guerrero, isn’t the smartest, y’know — we’re going to start a feature called “UCLA Coach Idol,” some kind of UCLA coaching-version of American Idol. That doesn’t make sense too much, but roll with it. (We’ll also include a grade at the bottom of the post, gauging how much we, here at SOW, would like to see this guy coach.)
This post’s candidate? Larry Fedora, of Southern Mississippi.
OK, so the dude isn’t the brand name everyone in Los Angeles wants for these Bruins. However, with Chris Petersen out of the question and Mike Leach moving to Wazzu, it’s pretty unlikely we’re going to get that brand name. Settling for a football coach who wins, though, might be what we need.
Fedora’s resume is nice. Not holy-crap-we-got-this-guy impressive, but it’s worth taking four glances at.
In his time at Southern Miss, Fedora has improved his team’s record each year, as well as the squad’s positioning in their conference (Conference USA; yeah, yeah, we know). This year, Southern Miss won its first conference championship under Fedora, finishing the year out at 11-2 (7-2 in conference) to shocking the crap out of the previously-unbeaten University of Houston. (Guess who coaches UH. That’s right, Kevin Sumlin, witches.)
Fedora hasn’t had a losing season either. His first season was his worst (of course) when his team finished out 7-6 and 4-4 in conference play. And even then, he got his squad a win in the New Orleans Bowl. He’s gotten his team to a bowl game every season and he figures to get them into the Liberty Bowl now that the Southern Miss are C-USA champs.
Fedora is also a damned good recruiter apparently, too. The dude’s consistently brought in some high-level talent to Southern Miss, even wrestling away a few recruits from the SEC, college football’s best conference.
So he wins and he recruits well. Sure, he may be coaching at a mid-major (Wikipedia page here, if you don’t know what that is) but he’s done a damn good job and has improved the program significantly. The competition may not be there, but he figures to be the kind of guy you want to start with when you’re conducting a major upheaval of your program.
Sons of Westwood Grade: B. We know he doesn’t get Pac-12-type competition, but he doesn’t have Pac-12-type talent at his disposal, nor does he have name recognition that UCLA does.