I can’t believe that we’re here again.
Wait, scratch that—I honestly can believe that we’re here again, with this coach.
Hugh Freeze was reportedly hired by Auburn on Monday after spending the last three years as the head coach at Liberty.
Auburn is finalizing a deal to hire Liberty coach Hugh Freeze, sources tell @SINow.
Freeze would return to the SEC, where in 2017 Ole Miss fired him amid NCAA and personal scandal. In 12 years as a college head coach, he’s had one losing season.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 28, 2022
Regardless of what Auburn is going to say about the hire, they ultimately forgot one point in the three-day vetting process they went through:
Hugh Freeze sucks.
Let’s rewind the Hugh Freeze timeline, shall we?
In 2017, Freeze resigned—not fired, not parted ways—resigned as head coach at Ole Miss after it was discovered by USA Today that Freeze was making calls to female escorts on a university-issued phone. In addition, an internal investigation found a “pattern of misconduct” with Freeze as a head coach. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Ole Miss ultimately had to vacate 33 wins, had a two-year bowl ban and had three years of probation.
It doesn’t stop there. While at Liberty, Freeze took to Twitter (hopefully not on his company phone) to harass a former Liberty student who sued the university over the continued mishandlings of sexual assault and Title IX issues. According to Inside Higher Ed, one of the woman’s complaints was the hiring of Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw, who was the AD during the sexual assault scandal at Baylor. Freeze took the time out of his day to DM this woman to defend his boss, very publicly, on Twitter.
Why is the head football coach at Liberty University DMing me during and after my lawsuit with LU?
At almost midnight.
When I didn’t tag him.
& I haven’t responded to the other DMs he’s sent over the months
Publicly naming so he can see that I don’t want direct contact w/ him pic.twitter.com/K3icZAuops
— Chelsea Andrews (@chelsandrews) July 10, 2022
Above all the making calls about escorts on the company phone (which is hilarious in a very 1960’s Looney Tunes episode way where Elmer Fudd points the gun through Bugs Bunny’s home but then it turns around to him), the repeated messaging of sexual assault victims and harassing them about his boss is practically as low as you can go.
In addition, while Freeze was head coach at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee, three women who attended the school shared stories of inappropriate conduct by Freeze while at the school.
So, why is Auburn hiring a guy who resigned from Ole Miss for a lack of institutional control, and has very publicly went after sexual assault victims?
Because they wanted to.
Paying players is fine, that’s not the problem here. The problem is the repeated harassment of sexual assault victims who had the courage to speak out against the universities that did them wrong. Freeze should have to answer for why he did that, and Auburn should have to answer for hiring a guy who did that.
They can say that they’ve vetted Freeze, which is going to be brought into question. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde Freeze has to relinquish his social media accounts, which is definitely a normal thing you include in a contract for a 53-year old man.
They can say that he’s a known winner and that this is a “win at all costs” move, which quite frankly is bullshit. He has a below .500 record in SEC competition at .475, including the wins that were vacated. For comparison, HOUSTON NUTT has a .491 record in SEC competition. Gus Malzahn, who Auburn fired in 2020 and is paying $21.5 million, has won more games in his career than Hugh Freeze. Sure he beat Nick Saban twice, as if the offenses that beat Alabama didn’t benefit from five turnovers and a Cooper Bateman starting for the Tide.
In all reality, Auburn wanted to hire him, so they did. It was reported that their top two choices were Lane Kiffin and Freeze, and nobody else. They’re hitching the wagon to this dude, and riding it through whatever happens.
People are going to bring up “he’s a changed man”, or “he paid for his mistakes”, and I’m not the one who’s going to judge whether he’s actually changed or not.
But paid for his mistakes? As soon as his NCAA-mandated suspension was lifted he was hired by Liberty. According to the Roys Report, Freeze spoke at a convocation Liberty University, six months after he was fired, then in December 2018 he was hired by the school. That’s not punishment—that’s promotion.
Freeze: “With anybody, I made sure they knew that if I hurt them I was sorry, but it’s time to move on. How many times can we write about it? How many times can we talk about it? I said I was wrong. I’ve paid a price. My family paid a heck of a price.” https://t.co/ZA2jYt6tmJ
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 28, 2022
Sure sounds like a guy who knows what he did wrong and is working to be better.
For someone as biblically-leaning as Freeze, he should know what the definition of actually paying for mistakes you’ve made. The constant allusions Freeze made to McCaw being the most “Jesus like leader he’s known”, and Freeze said he paid a price. Forgiveness isn’t just resolution of an issue; saying “my bad” then getting a job one year later in the same position isn’t paying the price. Forgiveness is actually working towards being a better person and Freeze hasn’t shown any of that. Freeze resigned then got a job one year later. That’s not paying for what he did, and he didn’t go into exile. Roys Report also wrote about the hypocrisy Freeze has shown in the same article, and that doesn’t sound like a guy who is genuine in his apologies.
Yet, Auburn hired him. Because they wanted to. They’re willing to overlook the direct harassment and inappropriate behavior towards women, in the chase of 7-5 and a chance at the ReliaQuest Bowl. They’re fine with a pattern of inappropriate behavior as long as he goes 3-2 against Vanderbilt.
The real answer to why Auburn hired Hugh Freeze is simple: they wanted to, and they couldn’t care less about the morals behind it.