LYNCHBERG, VA (WLBT) - It’s not the SEC, but it is the chance to coach again.
Hugh Freeze was introduced Friday as the new head coach at Liberty, the university founded by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia.
“I’ve sat out of football the better part of two years,” said Freeze, who resigned from Ole Miss in July of 2017 when phone records showed he contacted female escorts on his university-issued cell phone. “And it’s given me time to reflect on the core values to which when I adhered to them followed great blessing and when I did not adhere to them, (I) learned about what discipline looks like.”
Freeze spoke Friday of leading the Flames, entering just their second season in FBS football, to their first ever bowl game, but also teaching his players to learn from his own mistakes.
“I believe in teaching young men on our team all the lessons of when I got it right and when I got it wrong,” said Freeze. “I’ve been on both ends of it, won Sugar Bowls and been praised. (I) didn’t handle it exactly right, and I’ve made decisions that hurt a lot of people. I don’t ever want to experience that again.”
Freeze was derided on social media when news broke of his contact with escorts in 2017. Many pointed to the hypocrisy for a coach who often quoted scripture on Twitter. Freeze, again, was the target of some derision during his press conference Friday.
Freeze addressed his family in the crowd Friday. He was accompanied to the press conference by his wife, Jill, and their 3 daughters: Ragan, Jordan, and Madison.
“These 3 girls and my wife, they’re my heroes. They would say that I’m their hero. That blows me away,” said Freeze.
“My wife would say I’m the godliest man she’s ever met,” said Freeze, as he began to break down in tears. “I don’t get that. But they’ve been with me a lot of times and they’ve been rock solid, from the good times and the bad times. And we can’t wait to enjoy this journey again.”
Freeze said he was first contacted by Liberty when getting off of a plane following an interview with another school. He said he had talked to several about their offensive coordinator positions. Those schools have been reported to be Auburn, Tennessee, and Florida State.