Hugh Freeze Resigns as Ole Miss Head Coach After Reported Call to Escort Service

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2017

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2016, file photo, Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze has a moment to himself during a timeout during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida State, Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. The calendar hasn't reached October yet, but No. 23 Mississippi, No. 25 Oklahoma and Notre Dame already are having to adjust their expectations for the season after dropping two of their first three games. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Ole Miss Rebels announced Thursday that head football coach Hugh Freeze "resigned effective immediately" before elaborating on the details in a press conference.

Dan Wolken of USA Today reported Thursday Freeze made a one-minute call from a school-issued phone "to a number associated with a female escort service." The call came to light as part of a federal lawsuit former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt filed against the school alleging it violated his severance agreement.

Athletics director Ross Bjork said during the presser"We proactively looked into the rest of (Hugh Freeze's) phone records & found a concerning pattern," per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports.

Feldman added more details:

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

#OleMiss: Hugh Freeze forced out after "a pattern of personal misconduct" that was discovered & "is totally unrelated to the NCAA case."

Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB

#OleMiss AD Ross Bjork, asked about if the "inappropriate conduct" w Hugh Freeze refers to escort services, declines to elaborate.

According to reporter Brett McMurphy, Bjork said Freeze "admitted the (personal) misconduct" before resigning. 

This all came after Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported Thursday, per sources, Freeze's position was "in immediate jeopardy" after "explosive new information" came to light.

"Nutt's attorney, Thomas Mars, sent an e-mail to Lee Tyner, the school's general counsel, referencing a 'phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain,'" Wolken wrote.

Freeze couldn't explain the reasoning behind the call but raised the notion it could have been a misdial.

"I've got no idea, to be honest," Freeze said, per Forde. "I was in an 813 area code and that was a 313 number, I think that might have been a misdial. I don't think there was even a conversation. There's nothing to it."

Forde noted Yahoo Sports obtained the coach's phone records, confirming the call lasted a single minute "raising the possibility" it was a misdial.

Wolken explained Nutt's lawsuit alleges Freeze and Bjork were among the Ole Miss officials who "conspired to smear him" by telling reporters off the record many of the violations in the ongoing NCAA infractions case against the Rebels happened under Nutt.

However, Forde noted the NCAA's updated Notice of Allegations charged the program with 21 violations with 17 involving Freeze's tenure.

Freeze finished with a 39-25 record through five seasons at Ole Miss, a span which was highlighted by a 10-3 mark and Sugar Bowl victory in the 2015 season. However, the Rebels struggled in 2016 after posting a winning campaign in each of Freeze's first four years, finishing with a 5-7 mark and failing to make a bowl game for the first time since 2011.

The school's announcement noted Matt Luke will take over as the interim head coach.