JONESBORO (12/2/10) - After enjoying successful stints as both a head and assistant coach at the NCAA FBS, NAIA and high school levels over the last 18 years, Hugh Freeze was named Arkansas State's 27th head football coach Thursday by Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee at a press conference held at ASU's Convocation Center.
Freeze most recently completed his first season as Arkansas State's offensive coordinator, guiding the Red Wolves' offense to a record-breaking year in 2010.
"I am thrilled to be the next head coach at Arkansas State and continue building on the foundation Coach Roberts has set," said Freeze. "It is a dream come true and I can't wait to hit the recruiting trail and get us some players. I am very indebted to President Welch, Chancellor Howard, Dr. Lee and Dr. Potts for their confidence in my ability to take this program to another level. My family and I look forward to being a very vital part of the Jonesboro community and the A-State family."
Freeze made an immediate impact on ASU's program, leading the offense to a No. 43 national ranking in total offense one year after the Red Wolves finished toward the bottom of the NCAA FBS rankings at No. 95. In just their first year under Freeze's up-tempo spread offense, the Red Wolves broke nine offensive school records that included 4,841 yards of total offense currently ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Freeze, a noted speaker, motivator and recruiter throughout his career, led the ASU offense to other school records such as total plays (856), first downs (262), pass attempts (438), pass completions (266), completion percentage (.607), passing yards (3,057), passing yards per game (254.8) and passing touchdowns (23).
The Red Wolves' potent offensive attack averaged 403.4 yards per game, eclipsing over 300 yards all 12 times it took the field for the first time in the history of the program. A-State posted at least 400 yards of total offense in seven games during the 2010 campaign, the most ever as an NCAA FBS member.
ASU, currently ranked 46th in the nation in scoring offense, finished the season averaging 30 points a game and recorded at least 20 points in 11 consecutive games for the first time in school history. Freeze's offense scored 46 touchdowns, including 23 on the ground and 23 through the air, for the fourth most in school history and the most since the 1975 season. While the Red Wolves' 23 passing touchdowns broke the school record, their 23 scores on the ground were the most by an ASU team since 2002. Their 360 total points were the most since 1987 and tied the fourth most in ASU history.
Under Freeze, the A-State offense was among the most dangerous in the Sun Belt Conference in 2010. The Red Wolves were ranked among the top two teams in the league in scoring offense, passing offense, total offense, pass efficiency, red zone offense and first downs. In addition to its No. 43 national ranking in total offense and No. 46 spot in scoring offense, ASU is ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in red zone offense at No. 33.
In addition to working as ASU's offensive coordinator, Freeze was also the quarterbacks coach for the Red Wolves. Under Freeze's direction, sophomore Ryan Aplin exploded onto the scene in 2010 to emerge as a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year candidate. Aplin not only broke the ASU records for total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions, he posted numbers that rank among the top 10 in Sun Belt Conference history in the same categories. Aplin was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times during the 2010 season.
"We are extremely excited to named Hugh Freeze head football coach at Arkansas State University," said Dr. Lee. "He is a tremendous leader that makes those around him better and his high energy level is contagious. Coach Freeze has a great passion and vision for our football program. He is highly organized and has a plan that has made him successful throughout his career."
Prior to his arrival at Arkansas State, Freeze compiled a 20-5 record over the 2008 and 2009 seasons at the helm of the Lambuth University football program.
Freeze was named the American Football Coaches Association's Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 2009 after leading the Eagles to their best regular season in school history with an 11-0 record. Under Freeze's direction, Lambuth won the Mid-South Conference West Division, advanced to the second round of the NAIA playoffs for the first time since 1999, finished the year with a 12-1 mark and ascended to the No. 6 ranking in NAIA.
The Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year oversaw the offense and called the plays for a Lambuth team that averaged over 40 points per game and ranked ninth nationally in total yards per game (465 ypg). The Eagles also ranked first in the nation in fourth down conversions, fourth in first downs per game and third down conversions, fifth in passing offense and eighth in scoring offense per game.
Prior to taking over as head coach at Lambuth, Freeze served as interim head coach at the University of Mississippi in November of 2007 and was an assistant coach with the Rebels from 2005-07. He was named the Rebels' recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach before the 2006 season after originally serving as Assistant Athletic Director for Football External Affairs upon his arrival in Oxford.
In his first year as recruiting coordinator, he helped bring in the nation's 13th ranked recruiting class, the highest in the history of the program. Freeze was responsible for the recruitment of nine signees, including two that went on to be named Freshman All-America, in the class alone.
While maintaining his duties as recruiting coordinator, he moved to wide receivers coach in 2007 and tutored two players that were ranked among the top-15 players in receiving in the SEC. Ole Miss' 2007 signing class was ranked 25th nationally and he was responsible for nine commitments in the 2008 signing class.
Before going to Ole Miss, Freeze served 13 years at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tenn., as a classroom teacher, coach and administrator. He was the Saints' head football coach from 1995 to 2004, running the no huddle "spread system" for six years that led to six straight state championship games.
Freeze compiled a 99-23 record, which included an undefeated season in 1996, while at Briarcrest and led the school to state championship titles in 2002 and 2004. Briarcrest won regional championships in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2002, and Freeze was named the Region 8-AA Coach of the Year five times and Associated Press Coach of the Year four times.
Before assuming the role of head coach at Briarcrest, Freeze served as the Saints offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1992-1994 as the Saints reached the TSSAA state semifinals twice.
A 1988 graduate of Senatobia (Miss.) High School, Freeze earned his bachelors degree in mathematics with a minor in coaching and sports administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992.
Hugh and his wife, Jill, are the parents of three daughters, Ragan, Jordan, and Madison.