Hugh Freeze was not pushed out at Ole Miss for a 1-minute Jan. 2016 phone call to a Tampa escort service — not officially. No, the discovery of that phone call — by a Mississippi State fan, by the way, but that’s another story for another day — simply prompted Ole Miss to do a deep dive into Freeze’s phone records, where the school discovered, in the words of Rebels athletics director Ross Bjork, a “pattern of personal misconduct” for which Freeze resigned at the point of termination.
The deep dive into Freeze’s life has just begun — lawyers for Houston Nutt have requested records from a Freeze burner phone — and USA Today has found troubling allegations against Freeze dating back to his days as the head coach at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.
“Coach Freeze pulled me in his office and told me that my shirt represented drugs,’’ Dalmasso said. “I said, ‘I’ll go change in the bathroom,’ and when I said that he said, ‘No, you’re going to change in here so I get the (Grateful Dead) shirt and you can’t have it back.’
“He didn’t do anything sexual. But I stood in the corner and faced the wall when I did it and I changed out of my shirt. No privacy.’’
Another former Briarcrest student said Freeze was “hyper attentive’’ to the length of her skirts and that he loomed in the parking lot after she would go to her car to change clothes. She also said she was troubled by the time she and some football players faced discipline for arriving late from lunch, when she asked to be paddled — a form of discipline reserved for the male students — instead of receiving detention. She said she was stunned when Freeze obliged rather than getting a female teacher.
“(Freeze) did some bizarre warm-up taunt before actually making contact,’’ said the woman, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because she said she fears reprisal. “I was humiliated that he didn’t have a female in the room.
“I don’t know if the acts were intentionally sexual or if he was really that oblivious to the inherently sexual nature of his approach to discipline.’’
For his part, Freeze has denied those allegations. “These accusations are totally false. I can unequivocally say that during my time at Briarcrest Christian School I handled disciplinary issues professionally and in accordance with the school’s policy,” he said in a statement to USA Today. “I am very confident that the members of the administration who worked hand in hand with me during my tenure will verify that.”
Briarcrest also released a statement supporting Freeze. “Briarcrest would take any such allegations very seriously and would investigate fully,” the school said.
Without any other evidence or eyewitness testimony, the Briarcrest cases boil down to “he said-she said.”
Problem for Freeze is, how many more “shes” are out there?