Liberty University athletic director Ian McCaw made good on his promise to swiftly fill the vacant football head coaching position by agreeing to terms with former University of Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze on Friday morning to become the Flames’ next coach.
Contract details were not immediately made available.
Freeze was linked to offensive coordinator positions at Power 5 conference programs Tennessee, Auburn and Florida State in the past week.
Freeze replaces Turner Gill, who abruptly retired less than 48 hours after Liberty completed its inaugural Football Bowl Subdivision season last weekend. The Flames went 6-6 thanks to back-to-back home victories over New Mexico State and Norfolk State.
Thank you brother— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) December 7, 2018
Freeze, who hasn’t coached since the 2016-17 season, arrives at Liberty with a college coaching record of 69-32.
He steered Ole Miss to a 39-25 mark with four bowl appearances during his five seasons there.
Freeze, 49, was set to be the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Hotshots in The Alliance of American Football before taking the head coaching position at Liberty.
He returns to the college coaching ranks after two seasons away following an unceremonious departure from Ole Miss.
Freeze resigned in the summer of 2017 after school officials discovered he used his university-issued cell phone to call numbers associated with escort services. Earlier in the year, the school issued a self-imposed one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season after receiving an NCAA notice of allegations that accused the Rebels of a lack of institutional control and Freeze for failing to monitor his coaching staff.
Freeze’s first public appearance following his resignation came at Liberty in late January of this year when he and his wife, Jill, appeared at one of the thrice-weekly convocation services. Freeze used the platform to speak about his faith and publicly apologize for his indiscretions.
David Nasser, the senior vice president for spiritual development at Liberty, was on stage with the Freeze family during the convocation service, and he gave a glowing recommendation about Freeze’s candidacy as Liberty’s football coach with the website Vols Wire earlier in the week.
“I believe he is the kind of candidate that we would look for,” Nasser told the website.
Freeze’s college head coaching career began at Lambuth, an NAIA program, where he compiled a 20-5 record in two seasons.
He guided Arkansas State to a 10-2 mark and a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in 2011, which led to his hiring at Ole Miss.