Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze to become Liberty's new head coach

Liberty University offered former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze an opportunity to request forgiveness earlier this year.

Now, they’ve offered Freeze an opportunity to be their own head coach.

Just under a year after sharing to a Liberty convocation about struggles that led to his 2017 resignation from Ole Miss, the 49-year-old Freeze has agreed to become the Flames’ new coach.

“I have been offered and have taken the head football job at Liberty University,” Freeze said in a text to Sports Spectrum this morning.

The move comes four days after longtime Liberty coach Turner Gill announced his retirement. It marks Freeze’s first official return to college football since the Mississippi native stepped down in July 2017.

Renowned for his work as head coach of Memphis’ Briarcrest Christian School, former home of “Blind Side” inspiration Michael Oher, from 1992-2004, Freeze began at Ole Miss as an assistant in 2006. After stops at Lambuth University and Arkansas State, where he had a combined 30-7 record as a head coach, he returned to the Rebels as their head coach. From 2012-2017, he guided Ole Miss to a 39-25 mark, with a 3-1 record in bowl games, notching historic feats — like a 2015 upset of Alabama and a school-record 7-0 start the year before.

In 2017, a year after the NCAA charged Ole Miss with recruiting violations, lawsuit findings revealed Freeze’s own violation of a morals clause in his contract — a pattern of misconduct that included phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service.

The former four-time AP High School Coach of the Year publicly acknowledged his mistakes during his January 2018 address to Liberty, a school whose Christian roots align with his personal faith.

“I had to say to people that I loved, ‘I am sorry. Please forgive me,'” he said to students. “When my walls came crumbling down around me, the faith that I stand on through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, it is a solid rock. A solid foundation. And when all hell is breaking loose around you and everybody has their opinion about what is going on, and you know that you’ve hurt the heart of God, His love never changes. Ever.”

Freeze, who went into more detail about his walk through repentance and forgiveness on the Sports Spectrum podcast this August, is to be introduced as Liberty’s new coach on Friday.

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