North Carolina

'I hate that it had to end this way': UNC fires head football coach Larry Fedora after 7 seasons

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina says football coach Larry Fedora is out after seven seasons.

[RELATED: Fedora, Tar Heels trying to reverse program's 2-year slide]

The school announced the decision in a news release Sunday morning. That came 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. UNC went 5-18 over the past two seasons marred by injuries, inexperienced players and close losses.

Fedora released the following statement about his time at UNC:

"It has been a great honor to be a part of this incredible University. I am extremely disappointed that I will no longer be UNC's head football coach - I hate that it had to end this way. The last two seasons have been challenging and heartbreaking. The results are not what we wanted and it has been frustrating for everyone involved - coaches, athletes, fans and supporters alike. The results did not reflect the commitment and hard work put in by our players and staff. The players never quit - ever. That speaks to the character of this team and this great University. I wanted the opportunity to fix this. 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. I leave UNC grateful for the opportunity I was given seven years ago. I am thankful I had the chance to work with Chancellor Folt and Bubba Cunningham; I appreciate their leadership and friendship. My family and I will always cherish the time we spent and relationships formed here at UNC and in Chapel Hill."

Channel 9 told you a few months ago that Fedora faced backlash after he said he doesn't believe football causes chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease and that the game is "under attack", referring to safety measures in place to prevent head injuries.

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

Officials said those funds will be paid by the athletic department and not through state funds.

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

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