Hugh Freeze Talks with UT “Dormant but Not Dead”

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    (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

    Tennessee’s search for a new offensive coordinator to replace Tyson Helton has seemingly taken several twists and turns over the last week. But one name has continued to stand above the rest, and that name is Hugh Freeze.

    The former Ole Miss head coach has been the fan favorite for the hire since the job officially came open. And over the weekend, it appeared as though Tennessee was zeroing in on hiring him.

    Then, things didn’t go as planned.

    There were reports that a hire would be announced either Monday or Tuesday, but both days came and went without an announcement. Now, according to another report, Tennessee’s talks with Freeze seem to have died down, though they aren’t completely done.

    According to Jesse Simonton of Volquest, Tennessee’s discussions with Hugh Freeze have gone “dormant” but their talks aren’t completely dead. But that’s as far as Simonton would go as it pertained to Freeze and Tennessee’s search for a new OC.

    As we wrote about yesterday, Tennessee is not expected to promote within for their offensive coordinator hire. And as Simonton points out, Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey left the Tigers to take the offensive coordinator position at Kansas to coach under new Jayhawks head coach Les Miles. Lindsey was perceived as one of UT’s top two options for their OC job along with Freeze.

    The talks with Freeze seemingly have slowed down because of “hurdles” that Tennessee must overcome if they want to hire him. The university appears to be digging into Freeze’s past and making sure they vet him properly before making a hire. Freeze was investigated and found guilty for “failure to monitor his staff” for recruiting violations at Ole Miss, and he resigned after a second investigation found he contacted “female escorts” on a university-issued cell phone.

    If Tennessee doesn’t hire Freeze, it’s likely the Vols will reset their coaching search and could start from the beginning.

    Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt has been out on the recruiting trail visiting prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes over the last few days. He’s interviewed candidates already, but he’s been on the road the last few days working on recruiting. If Freeze doesn’t end up being hired, it will be interesting to see what Pruitt’s next move will be.

    We will update as more information becomes available.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.