Hugh Freeze, who resigned from his Mississippi football coaching post in July 2017 after an NCAA investigation into unlawful benefits granted to Rebels players and an investigation into his personal conduct, should be named head coach Liberty, according to reports Thursday night and Thursday. Friday morning Jon Reed from Fox Sports KnoxvilleScott Roussel Football Scoop, Dan Wolken of USA Today and ESP Low, Chris Low. He will replace Turner Gill, who announced his retirement on Monday.
Freeze led Ole Miss to her highest national ranking in 50 years, reaching 3rd place in 2014 and 2015 and finishing 10-3 with a win at Sugar Bowl last season. But the NCAA found that the Rebels football program "lacked institutional control and fostered an unhindered culture of participation in recruitment in football," adding a ban on a bowl (served this season) to the Self-imposed post-season self-taxation of school served 2017. The NCAA found that a dozen boosters and six former staff members had given players cash payments, trips Free car to campus, free hotel rooms, Rebels food and clothing at a sporting goods store in the Oxford area. Two former staff members were also involved in organizing standardized and fraudulent test results for three recruits. Freeze should have served a two-game suspension in conference if a school had hired him as head coach for the 2018 season.
Freeze would almost certainly have survived NCAA violations, but a defamation suit brought by Houston Nutt, former coach of Ole Miss, against the school indirectly led to his downfall. Nutt alleged that Freeze and other members of the school's sports department had spread rumors that most of the offenses had been committed under his supervision and, as part of the discovery process, required the school to provide Call records for the mobile phone issued by this school. Freeze was allowed to cancel the personal calls that he made from the phone, but failed to hide a call made to a number with a Detroit area code connected to the escort services. . He resigned shortly after Ole Miss announced his intention to issue a statement over the phone.
A born-again Christian who often marries his faith on his Twitter feedFreeze spoke of forgiveness in a speech to Liberty in January, a speech delivered alongside his wife, Jill. Hugh Freeze said in his speech that he had confessed his infidelities to his wife in 2016, before they became public.
"This man is the most precious man I know," said Jill Freeze to Liberty after remarks from her husband. "I am who I am in Christ because of this man, the impact and the influence he has had on me. . . . I know he will do what it takes to do good with God. And so for that, it was pretty easy, at that moment, to say, "I forgive you." Like, right away. "
Liberty, the largest evangelical university in the United States, played its first season as a high-level university football program in 2018, scoring 6-6 as an independent. The 2019 season will be the first in which the Flames will be eligible for a bowl in the playoffs. The athletic director of the school is Ian McCaw, who resigned from the same position at Baylor in May 2016 after being involved in a scandal involving the school's football team. According to reports, Art Briles, a football coach at Baylor and McCaw, was reportedly gang-raped by the school's football players, but reportedly did not report the charges.
Freeze, who was hired in October as the Arizona Hotshots offensive coordinator for the remaining American Football Alliance, was a rare commodity in this year's coaching carousel. According to Low, he had had an interview with Auburn, the state of Florida, and Tennessee for their vacant offensive coordinator positions and "Was on Nick Saban's radar" in Alabama, where offensive coordinator Michael Locksley has just left for the head coach position in Maryland.
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