If there’s one name that’s been tied to Tennessee’s search for an offensive coordinator the most, it’s been former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. Many Vol fans want Freeze as their top choice for UT’s vacant OC position, and he’s been the topic of many conversations since Tyson Helton left Tennessee to take the head coaching position at Western Kentucky.
The biggest holdup with Freeze has been whether or not the SEC would allow him to coach in the conference again after all the trouble he got into while at Ole Miss. Freeze was investigated for “impermissible benefits” he and his staff gave to recruits and for contacting a “female escort” on a university-issued cell phone while he was the head coach at Ole Miss. Freeze resigned prior to the 2017 season amid the second investigation.
Alabama tried to bring in Freeze as an assistant prior to the 2018 season, but the SEC office strongly discouraged head coach Nick Saban from hiring Freeze.
Now, however, it seems as though the SEC has softened on their stance regarding Freeze.
In a report from Dan Harralson of Vols Wire — a USA Today Sports digital property — a source in Mississippi told Harralson that it’s believed SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey would clear Freeze to accept an SEC job for the upcoming 2019 season.
“(Freeze) tried to get the Western Kentucky job and didn’t get it, and he has tried to get a bunch of jobs,” Harralson’s source stated. “To this point, Greg Sankey has not cleared him, and I think Sankey would clear him because the Ole Miss and NCAA thing is completely off the table with appeals being done. The book is finally closed.”
It’s been two years since Hugh Freeze last coached at Ole Miss, and it’ll be three full seasons by the start of the 2019 season. Freeze has accepted the job to be the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Hotshots in the newly-formed Alliance of American Football league, but he’s reportedly been pursuing multiple collegiate positions.
All this news comes on the heels of a report from Austin Price of Volquest stating that Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt had a meeting with Freeze to discuss the Vols’ offensive coordinator position.
Freeze served as the head coach at Ole Miss from 2012-2016. Prior to that, he was the head coach at Briarcrest High School in Tennessee from 1995-2004, joined the Rebels’ staff as a tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator in 2006 and 2007, coached at Lambuth as their head coach in 2008 and 2009, and joined Arkansas State as their offensive coordinator in 2010 before being promoted to their head coach in 2011.
As a head coach, Freeze has earned a 69-32 overall record, and he was 39-25 while at Ole Miss. He’s one of only four head coaches to defeat a Nick Saban-led team in back-to-back seasons.