“What an honor it is for me and my family to join the Liberty family. We can’t think of a better place to restart our career." —Hugh Freeze
LYNCHBURG, Va. (PRWEB) December 07, 2018
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell and Director of Athletics Ian McCaw have announced the hiring of Hugh Freeze as the ninth head coach in the history of the Flames’ football program.
Freeze was introduced at a press conference on Friday before a packed crowd in the Club Pavilion level of Carter Tower at Williams Stadium. The event was streamed live on an ESPN digital platform and LibertyFlames.com.
“What an honor it is for me and my family to join the Liberty family," Freeze said in a Liberty Athletics news release. "We can’t think of a better place to restart our career in what we love to do. I’m very thankful for President Falwell and the entire Liberty administration for putting their trust in me to lead this wonderful program.”
Freeze brings over 25 years of continued coaching success to Liberty, including head coaching experience that has led to conference titles, nationally ranked recruiting classes and bowl appearances at multiple stops during his highly decorated career.
Prior to being named Liberty’s ninth head football coach, Freeze’s collegiate head coaching stops have included Lambuth University (2008-09), Arkansas State (2011) and Ole Miss (2012-16) where he posted a combined 69-32 mark in eight seasons.
“We are proud to welcome Hugh Freeze and his family to Liberty University," said Liberty President Jerry Falwell. "We are looking forward to learning from one of the best coaches in the country as he leads Liberty in our second year as an FBS team. Hugh Freeze is an asset to our university in so many ways, and we are excited for the future of Flames Football.”
Freeze guided Ole Miss to bowl games each of his first four years with the Rebels, becoming the first coach in school history to accomplish the feat. The wins included victories in the BBVA Compass, Music City and Sugar Bowl games.
Ole Miss was one of five programs in the country to make consecutive New Year's Six bowl appearances in the first two years of the College Football Playoff system, joining Alabama, Florida State, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Freeze's squad saw its win total increase during each of his first four years in Oxford, including the program's first 10-win season since 2003 in 2016. Ole Miss was ranked as high as No. 3 in the national polls in both 2014 and 2015 and finished top 10 in the country for the first time since 1969 after their 2016 Sugar Bowl win over Oklahoma State.
Ole Miss was a mainstay in the national polls during Freeze's tenure, including top 25 rankings for 45 weeks over his five-year coaching stay and a string of 27-straight weeks in the polls for the first time since 1957-62.
Under Freeze's leadership, Ole Miss defeated Alabama in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015, including a 23-27 win over No. 1 ranked Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on Oct. 4, 2014.
The Rebels were 3-2 in the "Egg Bowl" rivalry against Mississippi State under Freeze. Their 48-20 Sugar Bowl triumph over Oklahoma State in 2016 to capture their 10th win two seasons ago featured the third-most points ever scored by a team in the Sugar Bowl's 82-year history.
In 2014, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) awarded Freeze the Grant Teaff Coach of the Year award. Freeze has been heavily involved with FCA during his entire coaching career and has been featured in the FCA Magazine and spoke at FCA functions.
Freeze finished his five-year head coaching career in Oxford with a 39-25 record, guiding Ole Miss to back-to-back nine-win regular seasons for the first time since 1962 and four consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1971.
Freeze has an eye for the nation's most talented high school players, collecting four national ranked recruiting classes at Ole Miss. In 2013 and 2016, his recruiting classes ranked in the top five nationally, making them the best in program history.
About Liberty University
Liberty University, founded in 1971, is the world’s premier Christian university, the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, and the largest university in Virginia. Located near the Blue Ridge Mountains on more than 7,000 acres in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty offers more than 600 unique programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. Over 300 programs are offered online. Utilizing its world-class infrastructure and Christian faculty, Liberty’s mission is to train Champions for Christ with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for impacting tomorrow’s world.