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Mack Brown Returning To Coach Tar Heels

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Updated 9:40 a.m.

Just a day after the firing of Larry Fedora, multiple reports, including Inside Carolina and the Raleigh News and Observer, said Mack Brown would return to the University of North Carolina as its head football coach. 

The school confirmed the news in a statement Tuesday morning, saying, "This is a big day for Carolina."

Brown previously coached the Tar Heels from 1988 to 1997. He led the program to a 69-46-1 record and five consecutive bowl games before leaving to coach the University of Texas.

During his time at Texas, the Longhorns went to a national championship in 2005 and had a 13-1 record in 2009.

Now 67, he is second in all-time wins at both schools and has wins in multiple Bowls, including Rose, Gator and Carquest.

He resigned in 2013 after several marginal seasons. For the last five years, he’s been a commentator for ESPN and was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last January.

UNC announced Sunday morning it had fired Fedora, 56. His last game was Saturday’s overtime loss to rival North Carolina State that ended with a brawl after the Wolfpack scored the winning touchdown.

Fedora came to UNC in 2012 at the end of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct. Despite inheriting a team that received a one-year postseason ban and scholarship reductions in violations, Fedora led the Tar Heels through four consecutive winning seasons in 2013-2016.

The last two seasons were Fedora’s worst, with the Tar Heels finishing 3-9 and 2-9.

Fedora said in a prepared statement it was a great honor to coach the Tar Heels and that the “last two seasons have been challenging and heartbreaking.”

“I wanted the opportunity to fix this,” Fedora said. “I wanted to make the changes necessary to win again. I also understand this business. I understand that you don’t always get the time you want to turn things around. I respect the administration’s position and understand their actions.”

UNC still owes Fedora about $12 million. His contract runs through the 2022 season. The News and Observer reports that the money will be paid to Fedora over the next four years by the Department of Athletics, not through state funds. UNC will pay the difference in his salary if Fedora gets another job during that time.