Freeze sa­vors sec­ond chance at coach­ing for Lib­erty

The Sun Herald - - Front Page -

LYNCH­BURG, VA.

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 49year-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.

Hugh Freeze

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