Auburn announced on Monday the hiring of Hugh Freeze as the Tigers’ new head football coach. Freeze has been at Liberty the past four seasons and was head coach at Ole Miss (2012-16) and Arkansas State (2011) before that.
“After a thoughtful, thorough, and well-vetted search, we ended where we started, with Hugh Freeze,” AD John Cohen said in a statement. “Of all the candidates we considered, Hugh was the best fit. Fit has several meanings, but the most important factors were student-athlete development, football strategy, recruiting and SEC experience.”
Freeze did well on the field, officially going 39-25 and playing in four bowl games, but his tenure ended in scandal and resignation. In addition to recruiting and academic violations, Freeze was personally found to have made a number of calls to escort services from his university-issued cell phone.
After a few years away from the field, he was hired in 2019 as the head coach at Liberty, a private evangelical college in Virginia founded by controversial televangelist Jerry Falwell, Sr. and presided over (until 2020) by his son, Jerry Jr.
The hiring has been met with mixed reactions from Auburn fans and the larger college football community, given Freeze’s history at Ole Miss. From a coaching standpoint, Freeze has had just one losing record in twelve seasons as a head coach (not counting vacated wins from his tenure in Oxford). He was also featured in the book and film versions of The Blind Side, as he was the high school coach of the story’s subject Michael Oher.
credit to Auburn Athletics for the image