UPDATED 2:19 p.m. ET: Following up on the original reports, Liberty confirmed that former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has been named as its next head football coach.
Freeze, who has been out of football the past two seasons after his unceremonious departure from the rebels, replaces Turner Gill, who announced his retirement over the weekend after his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition.
(The original post appears below.)
In his first public speaking appearance since resigning as Ole Miss’ head coach in the summer of last year, Hugh Freeze told a crowd of students at Liberty University this past January that he has found “a total new appreciation for integrity” during his time away from the coaching profession. Nearly a year later, it appears that institution is giving the coach his first second chance at the collegiate level.
Citing sources with direct knowledge of the situation, the fine folks over at FootballScoop.com are reporting that Freeze will be the next head football coach at Liberty. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the report, but did state that an update on the football program’s coaching vacancy could come as early as later on today.
Freeze would replace Turner Gill, who announced his retirement from coaching earlier this week after his wife was diagnosed with a heart condition.
Freeze resigned from Ole Miss in July of 2017 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 as well as a one-year show-cause. That suspension would’ve only been served had he been named as a head coach for the 2018 season and won’t impact him at Liberty.
It was reported in January of this year that Nick Saban had been “really pushing” to add Freeze to his Alabama coaching staff, but that the SEC was highly reluctant to sign off on it. In mid-April, a report surfaced that the conference had essentially blocked member schools, including Crimson Tide, from adding Freeze. At the time, Saban spoke of the respect he has for both Freeze and the SEC while seemingly confirming that the league did indeed coach-block a hire due “to circumstances that people created for themselves.”
Taking over a program in 2012 that had won a combined six games the previous two seasons, Freeze went 39-25 during his five years with the Rebels. The 10-win season in 2015 was the program’s first since 2003 and just the seventh in the school’s history.
In October of this year, Freeze was named as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots, one of the teams in the new Alliance of American Football, a pro league that will begin play in February of next year. His name has also been mentioned in connection to the open offensive coordinator job at Tennessee.