Liberty introduces Hugh Freeze as head football coach

Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze agrees to deal as Liberty's head coach

AP source: Liberty hired Hugh Freeze as football coach

School president Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that Freeze signed a five-year contract to coach the team.

Reports broke Friday morning that the Christian college in Virginia has drawn up contracts with Hugh Freeze, who resigned from his previous coaching job at Ole Miss a year ago after an investigation found that he'd used his school-issued cell phone to call escort services on multiple occasions.

Ole Miss enjoyed a quick rise under Freeze, who came to the school before the 2012 season and immediately started recruiting at a high level.

Ole Miss was also mired in an NCAA rules investigation during much of his tenure that eventually resulted in a two-year postseason ban. Rumors had circulated that he was being sought by schools such as Florida State, Tennessee and Auburn as an offensive coordinator, and there were reports that the Southeastern Conference rejected Alabama coach Nick Saban's attempt to hire Freeze as the top-ranked Crimson Tide's co-offensive coordinator and position coach.

The 49 year old has been out of coaching the last two seasons after resigning under pressure from the Ole Miss job in July 2017 amid an NCAA investigation and evidence that he had made multiple calls to an escort service using his university-issued cell phone. After inheriting a team that won two games in 2011 and had lost 14 consecutive SEC contests, Freeze guided the Rebels to four straight bowl games in his first four years - the first Ole Miss coach to do so.

For his part, Freeze said that while he could have considered going to another school in the all-powerful SEC, personal factors weighed more heavily on the decision than bowl bids or Top 25 rankings.

Liberty said that the coaching search would be swift, and that was the case. "It's somewhere you're embraced and people understand grace and people celebrate you not only for who you are, but whose you are". He appeared at the school in January to speak at a convocation at the school, during which he expressed remorse for the incidents surrounding the end of his tenure at Ole Miss.

Freeze takes over Liberty after Turner Gill retired from his post last month. "And today is really the first day I can tell the faith family, 'I am sorry, please forgive me'". Gill helped the Flames make the transition from the FCS to the FBS and went 6-6 this past season.

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