Ex-Mississippi Coach Hugh Freeze Announced as Liberty's New HC

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2018

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 26:  Head Coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels watches his team warm up before a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi.  The Bulldogs defeated the Rebels 55-20.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was named as Liberty's new head coach on Friday. 

USA Today's Tom Schad and Dan Wolken were first to report Freeze would be hired.

Freeze has been away from the sidelines since resigning as Rebels coach in July 2017 amid a scandal.

Per ESPN's Mark Schlabach, he stepped down after Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork found a "pattern of personal misconduct" with the coach, including phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service. Freeze denied purposefully making those phone calls.

"We call the wrong numbers all the time," he said.

Freeze ultimately took responsibility and agreed to resign. Had he not, he would have been terminated, per USA Today's Kevin Spain.

Although Freeze helped Ole Miss return to relevance by going 39-25 during his five years in Oxford, he did not leave the program in good shape. Among other charges, the Rebels were alleged to have provided impermissible benefits and to have made recruiting violations.

Ole Miss self-imposed a postseason ban for the 2017 season, citing a lack of institutional control. The NCAA later added an additional year on the postseason ban and placed scholarship restrictions on the program.

The NCAA also handed Freeze a two-game suspension for failure to monitor his staff. That ban only took effect if he was hired for the 2017 or 2018 seasons.

Liberty is coming off a 6-6 season. Former Flames head coach Turner Gill retired earlier this week after seven seasons on the job, going 47-35 and winning four Big South championships.

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