LYNCHBURG, Va. - Liberty said that the coaching search would be swift, and that was the case. Just four days after Turner Gill announced his retirement, the Flames introduced Hugh Freeze as the ninth head coach of the football program.
"We’re looking forward to learning from one of the best coaches in the country as he leads Liberty in our second year as an FBS team. He is an asset to our university in so many ways," said Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr.
Freeze brings a track record of success from the SEC after six seasons at Ole Miss. He comes to Lynchburg after turning down at least three other SEC coaching jobs. The relationship between Freeze and Liberty dates back to January when he and his wife spoke at convocation. That made a huge impression on the university and now he’s excited to help put the Flames realize their hopes of reaching their first bowl game in program history.
"I just felt like I love a challenge. When I heard that this program had not gone to a bowl game, I don’t know why that triggered me, but it’s like I said earlier, not many people remember who is second and third in things, but they remember who was first at things. And I want to see the look in those kids' eyes when they get invited to a bowl game," Freeze said.
"You know, Dr. Falwell's vision was for Liberty football to compete with Notre Dame, University of Southern California and Alabama. Even though we’re one year into FBS, I think being able to hire a coach of Hugh Freeze’s stature does accelerate the process," said Director of Athletics Ian McCaw.
The hiring did come with some criticism. Freeze had some personal misconduct dealings from his time at Ole Miss, which led him to resigning in 2017. When asked about those dealings, McCaw said Liberty can be a second chance university, and it’s about forgiveness.
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