It might not relate directly back to Texas football, but the Liberty Flames made a very interesting move by hiring Hugh Freeze as head coach.
We’re going to dive into something that might not have much of an impact on the Texas football program directly for a few years. But, this headline does have some bearing on the status of college football for the upcoming off-season. The coaching carousel hasn’t had a huge impact yet this fall like it did last year. Not a single blue blood program, like Texas football, has opened up a permanent coaching position yet. The Liberty Flames did make some crazy headlines by hiring Hugh Freeze, though.
The Ohio State Buckeyes had a coaching vacancy after the announcement of the retirement of legendary head coach Urban Meyer. But, Ohio State filled that vacancy within a few hours with Ryan Day. No outside candidates had a realistic shot at landing that job. Day took hold of it after he was given the chance as an interim for three games this fall.
However, the Liberty Flames made a move to bring in a big name, and controversial, head coach. The former Ole Miss Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze will be making his way to join the Liberty football program just two years after he was let go in Oxford, MS. Ole Miss was ridden by scandal by the time Freeze was forced out of the program.
The move by Liberty of hire Freeze as the program’s new head coach drew some national criticism, ranging from The Daily Beast to Deadspin. Hugh Freeze is a controversial figure after the Ole Miss scandal and this move will continue to be criticized in the media.
Freeze definitely made the Rebels relevant on the national level in his latter years as its head coach. Ole Miss even defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide two years in a row. Since then, Ole Miss got absolutely dominated by Alabama. Ole Miss even had some double-digit win seasons under the direction of Freeze.
When the news came down in 2016-2017 that Freeze was leading a scandal ridden program in Oxford, much of the respect he generated was lost. Freeze will get another chance to make a name for himself with a rising independent program.
It’s not surprising that a smaller upstart program like Liberty took a chance on someone like Freeze. Liberty made a huge jump from the FCS ranks to be a provisional member of the FBS in 2018. In 2019, Liberty will become a full independent FBS member including the rights for bowl eligibility.
For the 2018 campaign, the Flames finished with a record of 6-6 this year, with three wins against FBS opponents. The New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, and Troy Trojans were the three teams that the Flames defeated at the FBS ranks.
This is a weird way to cap a 2018 campaign that was full of interesting headlines for Liberty football. This year included a home-and-home series with the same opponent in the same regular season for the first time since 1998, an impressive upset win over Troy, and the hire of Freeze to cap it all off.
As it relates to the Texas football program, and the rest of the country altogether, this hire of Hugh Freeze made waves around the national media. Texas football doesn’t have anything set up with Liberty well into the future, but the weird trend of coaching hires continues this off-season. Mack Brown to the North Carolina Tar Heels and Les Miles to the Kansas Jayhawks aren’t as interesting as Freeze to Liberty.