College football notes: Kansas hires Weis as coach

Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has been hired at Kansas, where he'll try to rebuild a program that won the Orange Bowl just a few years ago but floundered under Turner Gill.

Weis will be introduced during a news conference Friday.

Weis is wrapping up his first season as offensive coordinator at Florida after spending one season directing the Kansas City Chiefs' offense. But his most extensive college experience came with the Fighting Irish, where he went 35-27 in five seasons before he was fired.

Weis, 55, helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls on the staff of Bill Belichick and also spent time with the New York Jets and New York Giants.

Gill was fired after going 5-19 in two seasons. School officials would not disclose the terms of Weis' contract. Gill signed a five-year deal that guaranteed him $10 million, which means the school is on the hook for roughly $6 million after firing him. Weis was making about $800,000 per year with the Gators.

UNC hires Fedora

North Carolina said Thursday that it will hire Larry Fedora away from Southern Mississippi as its new head coach, pending final approval by the school's trustees Friday.

In a statement, North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said interim coach Everett Withers would coach the Tar Heels in the Independence Bowl. Fedora will coach the 22nd-ranked Golden Eagles in the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl against Nevada. Fedora, 49, has a 33-19 record in four years with Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles just finished arguably the best regular season in school history, with an 11-2 record and Conference USA title after easily beating No. 7 Houston 49-28 in the championship game.

Former Murray State star hired to lead Memphis

Memphis has hired Texas Christian co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente to take over their struggling program. Fuente, 35, who has spent the past three seasons leading the Horned Frogs offense, was introduced Thursday. He will be paid $900,000 in 2012 as part of a five-year contract. The Tigers fired Coach Larry Porter after their season-ending 44-7 loss to eventual Conference USA champion Southern Mississippi on Nov. 26. Porter was 3-21 in two seasons as head coach of his alma mater.

Fuente played two seasons at Oklahoma as a quarterback before transferring to Murray State, where he was the 1999 Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Big East honors Bridgewater

Quarterback Geno Smith is among six West Virginia players named to the All-Big East first team by the conference's head coaches, and Louisville freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was named rookie of the year. Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead was named the offensive player of the year. Khaseem Greene of Rutgers and Derek Wolfe of Cincinnati shared the defensive honor.

Around the nation

Oregon State: A university police spokesman said Thursday that a defensive tackle who collapsed during a pickup basketball game and died was stricken so suddenly that even if emergency personnel had been on the scene they likely could not have saved him. Lt. Gregg Hastings said there is no evidence of a crime in the death of Oregon State freshman Fred Thompson, 19, on Wednesday.

Mississippi: Coach Hugh Freeze has brought four of his Arkansas State assistants with him to the Rebels. Veteran Dave Wommack was named defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Maurice Harris will be the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach, Tom Allen will be linebackers coach, and Chris Kiffin will be the defensive line coach. Kiffin is the younger brother of Southern California Coach Lane Kiffin.

Stanford: QB Andrew Luck has won the Walter Camp Foundation's award as college football's player of the year. The award, in its 45th year, is voted on by the nation's 120 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors.