JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -Southern Mississippi hired Oklahoma State assistant Larry Fedora as its new football coach Wednesday.
A person close to the Southern Miss program, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because an official announcement had not been made, confirmed Fedora was chosen to replace Jeff Bower, who resigned last month after 17 years.
A news conference was scheduled later Wednesday to officially announce Fedora's hiring.
Fedora visited the Southern Miss campus last week, and had been considered the front-runner in athletic director Richard Giannini's search.
Fedora just completed his second season as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator and has 16 years of college coaching experience. This will be his first job as head coach.
After Bower was forced out, Giannini said he was looking for a way to fill seats. Fedora's high-scoring offensive may be the solution. The Cowboys averaged 33.4 points and 484.1 yards per game on the way to a 6-6 record and an Insight Bowl berth.
Oklahoma State had the nation's seventh-ranked rushing offense at 245.3 yards per game, and the overall offense was ranked ninth.
Fedora was the offensive coordinator at Florida in 2004 and has coached at Air Force, Baylor, Middle Tennessee State and Austin College, where he went to school.
Under Fedora in 2004, the Gators led the Southeastern Conference in six offensive categories and the school was the first to feature the conference's top passer, rusher, receiver and total offense leader in the same season.
Fedora will be under pressure to win as he follows Bower, who had 119 wins, 14 straight winning seasons and bowl appearances in 10 of the last 11 years. Bower's last game as coach will be the Papajohns.com Bowl on Dec. 22 in Birmingham, Ala. The Golden Eagles play No. 20 Cincinnati.
Bower spent 29 years at Southern Miss as a player and coach.
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