Freeze savors 2nd chance at Liberty
LYNCHBURG, Va. — Hugh Freeze has enjoyed the highs of football, such as winning the Sugar Bowl and beating mighty Alabama. He also has known embarrassment and shame after a personal scandal that cost him his job at Mississippi.
Freeze, 49, believes those experiences will serve him well as the head coach at Liberty, where he has been given a second chance.
“I believe in teaching young men on our team all of the lessons of when I got it right and when I got it wrong and what the consequences are,” Freeze said.
He was introduced as Liberty’s football coach Friday, calling the opportunity an “unbelievable day for me and my family.” He was emotional at times during a news conference.
“I’ve made decisions that have hurt a lot of people,” Freeze said. “I don’t ever want to experience that again.”
Freeze will replace Turner Gill, who resigned after his seventh season to spend more time with his ailing wife. The Flames finished 6-6 this season, their first competing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, and were 47-35 under Gill.
Liberty will have full status for Football Bowl Subdivision eligibility in 2019. The Flames are not part of a conference and are playing as an independent.
Freeze spent five years at Mississippi and led the Rebels to a 39-25 record and four bowl games. He resigned in the summer of 2017 amid a scandal in which school officials discovered a “pattern of personal misconduct” starting with a call to an escort service from a university-issued cellphone. The school also was mired in an NCAA rules investigation during much of his tenure that eventually resulted in a two-year postseason ban.
Littrell to say at North Texas
Seth Littrell decided to remain at North Texas after Kansas State expressed interest in him to replace Bill Snyder.
Littrell told his players in a meeting that he would not be leaving for the Wildcats. It ended a courtship in which Littrell met with Kansas State officials several times this week. North Texas will face Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl next week.
Snyder retired last weekend after 27 seasons with the Wildcats.
Odds and ends
Georgia Tech hired Temple coach Geoff Collins to replace Paul Johnson as the Yellow Jackets’ coach. Collins, 47, is a former Florida and Mississippi State defensive coordinator and Georgia Tech assistant who was 15-10 in two seasons at Temple. Before his time at Florida (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2011-14), Collins was a graduate assistant and tight ends coach for the Yellow Jackets under George O’Leary from 1999-2001. He returned to serve as recruiting coordinator under coach Chan Gailey in 2006. … Kansas running back Pooka Williams was suspended from the team after his arrest on suspicion of domestic battery. Williams, whose name is Anthony Ray Williams, was arrested Thursday at the university’s public safety office. No further details were immediately available. New coach Les Miles said Williams has been suspended from all team activities pending further investigation. … Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is the unanimous pick for the Associated Press Big 12 offensive player of the year. Murray was one of a league-high six first-team picks from OU on the All-Big 12 team.