Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss Football: To The Victor Go The Spoils

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Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss Football:  To The Victor Go The Spoils
Kelly Lambert

Women will tell you sports is a male soap opera and ESPN is like the guys Lifetime Network, and that’s very true.  College football is very much like The Bachelor, American Idol and Survivor all rolled into one 24-hour reality drama playing out in real-time over a period of months or years and we can’t get enough.  You same ladies said we don’t have a sensitive side.

You could not write a movie script around Hugh Freeze and sell his story to Hollywood.  It’s too corny.  It’s would be considered too contrived and not believable

The audience would roll their eyes at the young boy from rural Mississippi, holding towels on the sideline as his dad coached high school football, yawn as he woke up at 5 a.m. everyday to help out on the family dairy farm and be bored to tears with his activity in his youth church groups.

Hugh Freeze is not a “Blind Side” character, fumbling around as Sandra Bullock coaches his offensive line.  The Hugh Freeze movie might be boring.  But his is driven, focused, methodical and successful.

Success in college athletics is transferable to success in life.  Every coach at any level of sports will tell you to be successful you must reach the kids, to raise them a little bit, to be a mentor and a father figure, give them a vision and a shoulder to cry on as necessary.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimately, to be the shepherd of the flock.

Coach Freeze, like many sports icons, gets a lot of rocks thrown in his window, so to speak.  Rival schools are convinced he is doing something illegal that can’t quite put their finger on.  These rivals don’t realize the amount of work he has put in to get a division one coaching job in the most difficult division of the most difficult league.

But it’s not enough to get the job. His work ethic continues as he strives to be the best college football coach possible. Freeze’s success is no less of a transferable tale of how to be successful in life than any other legendary coach. 

In barely more than a year, he has taken Ole Miss, a mid to low level SEC team, from two wins in the 2011 season to seven wins and a bowl victory in 2012.  He has reclaimed the state of Mississippi from the in-state SEC rival school and made the fans believe and trust him.  He has transformed the image of Ole Miss from an ever-ominous past to the bright light of a modern day.

Winning begets winning.  If you are a hard worker, you get work done.  If you get work done, you complete your goals…. Do I have to make this any easier?

Ole Miss’ explosion onto the national recruiting scene this year didn’t occur because Hugh Freeze woke up three weeks ago and started writing checks to recruits mothers or shipping SUV’s out to recruits driveways. 

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
No 1 college football recruit Robert Nkemdiche signs with Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze and his staff have been working on this class for 14 months or more.  Every day at 5 a.m., instead of doing chores on the dairy farm, he is working on bringing talent into Ole Miss and developing existing players for his system that has been proven to work. 

He has put in the time and paid the dues to enjoy the spoils of victory.

His vision for Ole Miss has obviously hit home and allowed him to upgrade the talent on his roster, with not only good local talent but some of the best recruits in America.

Robert Nkemdiche:  The overall number one player in the country and the best defensive end/ defensive line prospect.  Ready to enter the rotation from day one.  Discussed as the most dominating player in high school in 5 years, will play with his brother Denzel Nkemdiche, just as they did at Grayson High School in Georgia.

Laquon Treadwell:  The number one wide receiver prospect in the country that has home run speed, catches everything in front of him and, along with current wideout Donte Moncrief, will be a headache for SEC defenses.  He will attend Ole Miss to play with his best friend currently on the Ole Miss team (defensive back Anthony Standifer) just as they did back home in Chicago.

Antonio Conner:  The second-best safety prospect in America just happened to grow up 15 minutes from Oxford at the national power South Panola high school.

Laremy Tunsil:  The number one offensive line prospect in America who was sold on the vision and excitement and potential that developed during recruiting this year.

This 2013 recruiting class includes 4 of the top 25 prep players nationally and they could have attended any school they wanted but, thanks to family and friendship ties, they have decided to play together and enjoy their victories together. 

If you think about it, that sounds like the best sales pitch and would be a lot more valuable than any one-time payoff.

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