Just like nobody puts Baby in the corner, nobody puts Nick Saban in one either.
Earlier this week, a report surfaced that the SEC had essentially blocked member schools, including mighty Alabama, from hiring Hugh Freeze. It was reported in January that Saban had been “really pushing” for the disgraced former Ole Miss head coach to be added to his Crimson Tide coaching staff, but that the conference was highly reluctant to sign off on it.
In the wake of the most recent report on Freeze’s non-hiring, Saban was asked about its validity. In classic Saban fashion, he spoke of the respect he has for both Freeze and the SEC while seemingly, in a roundabout way, confirming that the league did indeed coach-block a hire due “to circumstances that people created for themselves.”
From al.com‘s transcription of Saban’s comments during an appearance at a fundraiser in Mobile Tuesday night:
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Hugh Freeze as a coach. I think he did a fabulous job when he was at Ole Miss. He has been a friend that I’ve shared ideas with and spent time with and know his family, as Miss Terry does know his family. So we have a tremendous amount of respect for him. We also have a lot of respect for the SEC and what they think is, in some cases, best for the league relative to circumstances that people created for themselves.
But I have a lot of respect for Hugh, and I think he’ll be back in our profession, and we wish him and his family the very best, and if we can do anything to help him, we’ll be happy to do that.
Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a two-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach. The one-year show-cause Freeze was slapped with, which would impact him on the recruiting trail as a head coach, would not be in effect as well if he served in a non-head coach capacity.