Auburn selects Liberty’s Freeze as next head coach

Freeze heading back to the SEC

ROANOKE, Va. – Auburn is hiring Liberty coach Hugh Freeze to take over the football program more than five years after his resignation from SEC Western Division rival Mississippi amid both personal and NCAA scandals.

Freeze went 34-15 in four seasons at Liberty. Several hours later, Auburn and Freeze released a statement on Monday night.

“First, I want to acknowledge Cadillac Williams for the incredible job he did as interim head coach. The impact he made is immeasurable and cannot be overstated. Secondly, Auburn is one of the preeminent programs in college football and I’m very appreciative of President Roberts and John Cohen for this opportunity at Auburn. I’ve been fortunate to witness firsthand how special Auburn is during my time as a head coach in the SEC and while visiting my daughter Jordan who attended Auburn and currently lives in the community. I can’t wait to work with our student-athletes and the Auburn family to bring championships back to the Plains.”

Coach Hugh Freeze

During Freeze’s four-year tenure, Liberty achieved its first-ever national ranking, first win over an ACC opponent, the best start in school history (8-0 in 2020) and first-ever win over a top-25 FBS program. Liberty also picked up back-to-back bowl wins under his tenure.

Liberty is the second team in NCAA history to win a bowl game during its first three full seasons at the FBS level (2019, 2020 and 2021), both coming under Freeze’s leadership.

“There could be no better compliment to our university than that the best place Auburn could come to find its next coach was Liberty University,” said Jerry Prevo, Liberty University president.

Additionally, Freeze guided the Flames through one of the most unique seasons in NCAA college football history in 2020 where Liberty finished the year ranked No. 17 in the country and tied a program record with a 10-1 overall record.

“We are grateful to Coach Freeze for all he has done for Liberty Football and the University over the past four seasons. We wish Hugh, Jill, and their daughters God’s richest blessings as they embark on a new journey,” said Ian McCaw, Liberty University director of athletics.

After leading the Flames to an 8-5 record in 2019, a 10-1 mark in 2020 and an 8-5 record in 2021, Freeze has posted a combined 68-43 mark in 10 seasons as a head coach.

Liberty is coming off a loss to New Mexico State but is bowl eligible. Auburn fired Bryan Harsin after less than two seasons on the job back in October.

Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated first reported the news.

About the Authors:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.