Head coach search underway in Lynchburg, Aldridge named interim for Flames

Aldridge is the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw announced Tuesday that Josh Aldridge would be the interim head coach since Hugh Freeze was announced head coach at Auburn.

“I’m really impressed with Josh and think he’s going to serve us really well during this interim period and through the bowl game,” McCaw said.

Aldridge has been on staff since 2019, and has been the co-defensive coordinator since last season. He will lead the team through the remainder of practices and coach in the bowl game.

McCaw said there have been potential candidates from all over, including Power 5 and Group of 5 programs, in addition to internal options. He said they would like to make a decision by next week, ahead of the transfer portal opening on December 5th.

He wants to make sure that players have the time to meet a new coach, and make the best decision for themselves, whether transferring or staying at Liberty. As far as criteria for the next leader of Liberty football, McCaw wants a CEO and culture builder with strong faith that fits Liberty.

“We knew that there was some possibility that Coach Freeze would be going to Auburn for the past few weeks, so we put together a list of prospective candidates, we’ve hired a search firm to work with us, and we’ve been screening candidates and had conversations with a number of individuals already.”

“It’s one of the blessings here. This is one of the best, if not the best, Group of 5 resource programs in the country. People know this is an outstanding job, facilities, salaries, budgets, and that’s why it has attracted such strong interest so that’s been really helpful for us.”

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. On Monday night, Auburn and Freeze released a statement.

“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.”

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.

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Brooke Leonard is the newest addition to the 10 Sports team, joining in June 2019.