STILLWATER — Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora is still considered the front-runner to be named head coach at Southern Mississippi but USM athletic director Richard Giannini said a decision probably won't be made this weekend. Fedora interviewed with Giannini on Tuesday. Fedora and his wife, Christi, flew to Hattiesburg, Miss., on Friday. After spending most of the day with Giannini, Fedora is believed to be the odds-on favorite. Giannini, though, emphasized on Saturday it's not a done deal. "We are going through the process that we have been on,” Giannini told the Biloxi Sun Herald. "Obviously, we had a guy come to Hattiesburg and we have a second guy we are looking at. The process isn't over, yet. "I don't think anything will happen over the weekend. That pretty much says it all.” According to sources, Fedora is in Stillwater and is expected to attend today's practice, OSU's only bowl practice scheduled until final exams end on Friday. Giannini said he might interview at least more candidate on Tuesday. According to sources in Mississippi, that candidate is believed to be Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "My list is more than two (names),” Giannini said. "I could bring more than two to campus. Everybody (in the media) thought the guy we brought in (Fedora) was the guy. And at the end of the day, maybe he is the guy. I don't want to make the wrong decision.” According to sources, one major issue in negotiations is Fedora wants assurances his assistants would receive competitive salaries up to $1.2 million combined a year. Southern Miss assistants received $800,000 combined this past season. USM offensive and defensive coordinators made $130,000 this season. If Fedora is given the dollars he feels is necessary for assistants, he could offer $200,000 or more for his coordinators which would rank near the top in Conference USA. "I am staying in my profile,” Giannini said. "I need to get a feel for the guy (we hire). The second step is to bring him in and see if his family likes the community. If I feel good about him, then we will move to work a deal out. Whoever we hire will be a good one.” One variable that could be holding up an official announcement is USM president Martha Saunders will be at a conference all day Monday and Tuesday morning in New Orleans. The earliest a press conference could be held would be late Tuesday or Wednesday. If Fedora is named head coach at Southern Miss, and he is assured around $1.2 million for his assistants, there's speculation he might try to bring one OSU assistant for his staff in Hattiesburg. It's uncertain whether Fedora would remain in Stillwater and coach in the Insight Bowl on Dec. 31 if he is named head coach at Southern Miss. Giannini has said former coach Jeff Bower will coach the Golden Eagles in the Papajohns.com Bowl Dec. 22 against Cincinnati. Bower was forced to resign two weeks ago after 17 seasons, including 14 consecutive winning seasons. Bower earned $524,983, including incentives. Fedora earns $393,000 as OSU's offensive coordinator. It's believed USM will offer a financial package close to $700,000 a year for its new coach.
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Larry Fedora is negotiating to be the head coach at Southern Mississippi. By Matt Strasen, The Oklahoman archive