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Larry Fedora comes full-circle as he faces Baylor

If Larry Fedora hadn’t taken a graduate assistant job at Baylor in 1990, he might never have become a college coach at all.

"Well I’d probably still be coaching high school ball in the state of Texas," Fedora said, according to the (Raleigh) News & Observer’s Andrew Carter.

The job with the Bears was Fedora’s first college gig, and Carter takes a nice look back at the stint that kick-started the man who revitalized the Tar Heels and brought them to Tuesday’s Russell Athletic Bowl against Baylor.

Fedora’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child when he took the job, leaving his assistant post at Garland (Texas) High. He made $400 a month with Baylor.

The rest, as they say, is history: He took assistant jobs at four more schools before taking over Southern Miss, and then UNC in 2012.

Tuesday’s meeting in Orlando, Florida, will feature two of the new-money, fast-tempo programs, with the 9-3 Bears experiencing something of a "down" season amidst coach Art Briles' remarkable tenure -- and with the 11-2 Heels looking to reach a program-best 12-win season.

For Fedora, the fourth-year architect of the UNC program, none of this might have been possible if he hadn’t joined Baylor’s staff way back when.