STILLWATER — Southern Mississippi athletic director Richard Giannini is trying to collect financial backing to meet Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora's requirements to fill the Golden Eagles' head coach vacancy.
According to multiple sources, it's "Fedora's job if he wants it,” but Southern Miss officials must first assure Fedora they will make a financial commitment to assistant coaches. Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson also is a candidate for the vacancy. According to the Biloxi Sun Herald, Giannini met with Wilson on Monday in McKinney, Texas. A flight was scheduled Sunday from Laurel, Miss., to Norman, but it was cancelled due to inclement weather. That same plane, with Giannini and USM boosters on board, was in McKinney on Monday for an interview with Wilson, who wasn't on the return flight to Mississippi. Fedora has been viewed as the front-runner for the vacancy, which was created two weeks ago when long-time USM coach Jeff Bower resigned. The primary issue in negotiations with Fedora is he wants Southern Miss to commit $1.2 million combined for his assistant coaches. Bower's staff this season made $800,000. Giannini might have to raise $1 million (around $400,000 to buy out Bower's contract, $400,000 to make up the difference for assistants' salaries and an additional $200,000 for the difference between Fedora's and Bower's contracts). At BCS schools, rounding up $1 million wouldn't be a major issue.
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