Freeze savors second chance with Flames
LYNCHBURG — Hugh Freeze has enjoyed the highs of football, such as winning the Sugar Bowl and beating mighty Alabama. He’s also known embarrassment and shame following a personal scandal that cost him his job at Mississippi.
The 49-year-old Freeze believes those experiences will serve him well as the head coach at Liberty, where he’s 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 on campus Friday, calling the opportunity an “unbelievable day for me and my family.” He was emotional at times during a press conference, thanking his family and calling them his heroes.
“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 FBS bowl 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.
Ole Miss was also mired in an NCAA rules investigation during much of his tenure that eventually resulted in a two-year postseason ban.
Now Freeze gets a chance to rebuild his career less than 18 months after his stunning downfall in Oxford, where his abrupt resignation marked the end to a volatile tenure.
Ole Miss enjoyed a quick rise under Freeze, who came to the school before the 2012 season and immediately started recruiting at a high level. The Rebels quickly developed into a Southeastern Conference contender, beating Alabama two seasons in a row and reaching an apex when they won the Sugar Bowl over Oklahoma State following the 2015 season.
But an NCAA investigation that found 21 violations of academic, booster, and recruiting misconduct overshadowed much of that success. Most of the 21 charges happened during Freeze’s tenure.
The Rebels were eventually hit with a two-year postseason ban, probation and recruiting restrictions. 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 at Georgia Tech under coach George O’Leary from 1999-2001. He returned to serve as recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech under coach Chan Gailey in 2006.
Collins also spent a season as director of player personnel at Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban’s first season leading the Crimson Tide.
Clemson junior Clelin Ferrell, a former standout at Benedictine, was announced as the recipient of the Ted Hendricks Award on Thursday. The award recognizes the top defensive end in the nation.
Ferrell was picked from a group of four finalists that also included Kentucky’s Josh Allen, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson and Northern Illinois’ Sutton Smith.
Ferrell has 10.5 sacks this season, and 45 total tackles. The 6-4, 265-pounder was also named the ACC’s defensive player of the year.
Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall was named to the Walter Camp AllAmerica team, which was announced during the ESPN/Home Depot College Football Award Show on Thursday. Hall was a second-team All-America selection.
The Walter Camp AllAmerica team, the nation’s oldest college football All-America squad, is in its 129th year. Hall is the 13th Cavalier all-time to be recognized on the Walter Camp All-America team and gives U.Va. a Walter Camp All-American in back-to-back seasons.
Hall is the first U.Va. cornerback to be recognized by the organization. Hall leads the nation with 20 pass breakups and is No. 2 in the nation with 22 passes defended. He boasts 59 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, two interceptions, forced two fumbles and recovered another fumble.
Old Dominion wide receiver Jonathan Duhart ,a former Manchester standout, will play in the EastWest Shrine game on Jan. 19. The game will be held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Duhart racked up 1,045 yards on 74 catches this season for the Monarchs (4-8). The reception total led Conference USA, and the yardage total was third. He was a secondteam all-conference pick.
Duhart’s five 100-yard receiving games this season were also tied for second in C-USA. He and Travis Fulgham (1,083 yards) were the first duo in school history to have 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.
GREENVILLE, N.C. — New East Carolina coach
Mike Houston is bringing eight of his coaches from James Madison to the Pirates’ staff.
Houston on Friday announced 10 members of his coaching staff.
Five offensive coaches and three defensive coaches are coming from James Madison. Among them are offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick and offensive line coach
Steve Shankweiler, both having previously coached at East Carolina. Kirkpatrick was on ECU’s staff from 2005-15, and this is Shankweiler’s fourth stint as an assistant at the school.
Houston also said he was retaining cornerbacks coach Brandon Lynch from the previous staff.
East Carolina hired Houston earlier this week after he spent three seasons coaching at James Madison.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas running back Pooka Williams was suspended by the Jayhawks after his arrest on suspicion of domestic battery, the same day the star freshman was selected Big 12 newcomer of the year.
Williams, whose given name is Anthony Ray Williams, was involved in a physical confrontation at a Lawrence apartment complex Thursday, university police said in a statement. The woman reported minor injuries, and the incident report indicates that she sustained injuries from bodily force.
Williams was interviewed later Thursday and arrested at the university public safety office. He was due in court later Friday, and his case has been forwarded to the Douglas County District Attorney.
“We are taking these allegations very seriously,” new football coach Les Miles said. Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said the athletic department had no additional comment.
Williams ran for 1,125 yards and seven touchdowns after missing the opener amid questions about his eligibility, and he added 289 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
New Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze was introduced to the media in Lynchburg on Friday. He was fired by Ole Miss last year following five turbulent seasons there.