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Senior running back Jeff Scott ran for a career-high 164 yards and had a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown here Saturday night as Ole Miss scored 30 unanswered points to run past Texas 44-23 in front of the third largest crowd at DKR Stadium (101, 474). With the win, the Rebels improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1989.
Ole Miss vs. Central Arkansas (9/1/12)
Follow @CoachHughFreeze on Twitter
He is the first coach in school history to guide the Rebels to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.
Among the accomplishments in Freeze’s three-year tenure:
• 24-15 record
• Two bowl wins
• 22 weeks ranked in the nation’s top 25
• At least one win over every other SEC West team
• Three straight top-15 ranked recruiting classes
• Three straight Vaught-Hemingway Stadium season
ticket sellouts and season attendance records
• 77 graduated players
The foundation that was laid in 2012 and 2013 led the way for a memorable campaign last year. Ole Miss played in the very first of the inaugural New Year’s Six bowl games - the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. TCU. The Rebels got there on the strength of the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (16.0 ppg allowed) and wins over four 10-win teams (Alabama, Boise State, Memphis, Mississippi State) and three conference champions (Alabama, Boise State, Memphis). Freeze led Ole Miss to its most regular-season wins over ranked teams since 1969 and its highest national ranking (No. 3) since 1964.
October 4, 2014 will forever be remembered by Rebel Nation as the day ESPN’s College GameDay and pop singer Katy Perry put Oxford in the national spotlight, and the Rebels knocked off the No. 1 Crimson Tide 23-17 for the program’s first ever victory over the nation’s top-ranked team.
A 2014 finalist for the Bear Bryant Award and Dodd Trophy, Freeze seems to get the most out of his players every game by emphasizing the importance of playing for the love of teammates instead of self. His leadership has also seen a rise in the team’s grade point average and involvement in service opportunities both locally and abroad, such as spring break mission trips to Panama and Haiti.
The Rebels’ 8-5 record after defeating Georgia Tech 25-17 in the 2013 Music City Bowl gave Ole Miss consecutive winning campaigns for the first time since the 2008-09 seasons. For his efforts, Freeze was named the 2013 Grant Teaff Coach of the Year by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The fans that filled Vaught-Hemingway Stadium each Saturday were treated to another exciting offensive season in 2013. The Rebels eclipsed 500 total yards of offense in four of their final five home games, including a program-record 751 yards in a rout of Troy. The Rebel offense finished the season with a school-record 6,153 total yards and ranked 21st nationally and fifth in the SEC in total offense (473.3 ypg).
A month after the Rebels capped off the 2012 season with a 38-17 win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl, Ole Miss was the talk of National Signing Day when Freeze and Co. landed a consensus top-10 class that was ranked as high as No. 2 by 247Sports and No. 5 by ESPN - the highest recorded signing class rankings in school history.
The Rebel offense saw a dramatic turnaround under Freeze in 2012. With many of the same players, he took a team that had ranked at or near the bottom of the SEC in every statistical category in 2011 to rank top five in the league and top 50 in the nation in scoring, total offense and passing.
The 2012 Rebels soared up the school record books and cracked the top four single-season totals in scoring, total offense and passing.
The Rebels’ 7-6 record could have been even better had they not lost three tight SEC games (Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, at LSU) by a combined 10 points.
The offensive school record books have received a makeover in three years under Freeze, including most total yards and first downs in a season (2013) as well as quarterback Bo Wallace’s records for total yards in a season (2013) and career, among others.
Freeze has led a resurgence in team attitude and effort that extends to the defensive side of the ball, as well. The 2014 group led the nation in scoring defense (16.0 ppg) and led the SEC in interceptions (22), turnovers forced (32), tackles for loss (7.6/game) and opponent third-down conversion (33.0 percent).
In 2012, an undersized, but feisty Rebel D finished first among SEC teams and fourth nationally in tackles for loss (7.9/game) and second in the SEC and 11th nationally in sacks (2.9/game).
Recruiting elite talent and developing players to maximize their abilities, Freeze and his staff have seen 11 players earn All-SEC honors, including All-Americans Cody Prewitt, Senquez Golson, Evan Engram, Robert Nkemdiche and Laremy Tunsil. Freshmen have played a large role on all three teams, including when Laquon Treadwell was named Ole Miss’ first ever SEC Freshman of the Year in 2013.
Freeze, a noted speaker and recruiter throughout his career, has enjoyed success at nearly every coaching level over the past 20 years, from high school to NAIA to FBS, and each stop has featured a high-scoring offense and the ability to motivate young people. Before returning to Oxford, the former Ole Miss assistant experienced a record-setting run at Arkansas State.
With Freeze as head coach in 2011, the Red Wolves captured the Sun Belt Conference championship and became just the third school in Sun Belt history to finish undefeated in league play with a perfect 8-0 mark. The 10-2 overall record marked the program’s first 10-win season since 1986, when ASU was a member of the I-AA Southland Conference.
In the best debut season ever by an A-State head coach, Freeze became just the 14th FBS first-year head coach to win 10 regular season games. He also returned ASU to a bowl game for the first time since 2005.
Freeze was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year, while 13 of his pupils earned all-conference honors, including both the Offensive Player of the Year in junior quarterback Ryan Aplin and the Defensive Player of the Year in senior lineman Brandon Joiner.
While dominating the Sun Belt statistical categories, the Red Wolves finished the season ranked top 25 in the nation in total offense (24th), total defense (24th), passing offense (16th), rushing defense (13th), pass efficiency defense (21st), scoring defense (25th), tackles for loss (eighth) and sacks (15th). They were also one of only two teams in the NCAA to lead their conference in both total offense and defense.
Freeze’s high-octane offense saw Aplin shatter the school record for career pass completions. He established new single-season standards for total offense and passing yards per game while ranking No. 10 in the nation in total offense. Wide receiver Dwayne Frampton broke the Red Wolves’ single-season record for receptions and ranked 13th nationally.
The Freeze defense also impressed in 2011 led by Joiner, who tied for third in the NCAA in sacks and 10th in TFLs. Senior DB Darryl Feemster registered six interceptions and tied for 14th in the nation in that category.
Freeze’s first season in Jonesboro saw him serve as Arkansas State’s offensive coordinator, guiding the Red Wolves’ offense to a record-breaking year in 2010.
He made an immediate impact on ASU’s program, leading the offense to a No. 43 national ranking in total offense one year after the Red Wolves finished toward the bottom of the NCAA FBS rankings at No. 95. In just their first year under Freeze’s up-tempo offense, the Red Wolves broke nine offensive school records that included 4,841 yards of total offense, which ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference.
ASU, ranked 42nd in the nation in scoring offense, finished the season averaging 30 points a game and recorded at least 20 points in 11 consecutive games for the first time in school history. Freeze’s offense scored 46 touchdowns for the fourth-most in school history and the most since the 1975 season.
In addition to working as ASU’s offensive coordinator, Freeze was also the quarterbacks coach for the Red Wolves. Under Freeze’s direction, Aplin exploded onto the scene in 2010 to emerge as a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year candidate as a sophomore. Aplin not only broke the ASU records for total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions, he posted numbers that rank among the top 10 in Sun Belt history in the same categories.
Prior to his arrival at Arkansas State, Freeze compiled a 20-5 record over the 2008 and 2009 seasons at the helm of the Lambuth University football program.
Freeze was named the American Football Coaches Association’s Southeast Region Coach of the Year in 2009 after leading the Eagles to their best regular season in school history with an 11-0 record. Under Freeze’s direction, Lambuth won the Mid-South Conference West Division, advanced to the second round of the NAIA playoffs for the first time since 1999, finished the year with a 12-1 mark and ascended to the No. 6 ranking in NAIA.
The Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year oversaw the offense and called plays for a Lambuth team that averaged more than 40 points per game and ranked ninth nationally in total offense (465 ypg). The Eagles also ranked first in the nation in fourth-down conversions, fourth in first downs per game and third-down conversions, fifth in passing and eighth in scoring offense.
Prior to taking over as head coach at Lambuth, Freeze served on the Ole Miss staff from 2005-07, including the final two seasons as an assistant coach. He originally arrived in Oxford as Assistant Athletics Director for External Affairs before being named the Rebels’ recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach before the 2006 season.
In his first year as recruiting coordinator, he helped bring in the nation’s ninth-ranked recruiting class, the highest recorded rank in the history of the program at that time. Ole Miss’ 2007 signing class was tabbed 25th nationally, and he was responsible for nine commitments in the 2008 signing class.
While maintaining his duties as recruiting coordinator, he moved to wide receivers coach in 2007 and tutored current NFL star Mike Wallace to a top-10 SEC finish in receiving yards. Freeze also coached Shay Hodge, who later became Ole Miss’ first 1,000-yard receiver, and Dexter McCluster, who went on to become the first player in SEC history with 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season.
Before going to Ole Miss, Freeze served 13 years at Briarcrest Christian School (Memphis, Tenn.) as a classroom teacher, coach and administrator. He was the Saints’ head football coach from 1995 to 2004, running the no-huddle “spread system” for six years that led to six straight state championship games.
Freeze compiled a 99-23 record while at Briarcrest, which included an undefeated season in 1996 and led the school to state championship titles in 2002 and 2004. Briarcrest won regional titles in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2002, and Freeze was named the Region 8-AA Coach of the Year five times and Associated Press Coach of the Year four times.
Among his talented pupils during that period were eventual Rebels and current NFL starters Michael Oher and Greg Hardy.
Before assuming the role of head coach at Briarcrest, Freeze served as the teams’ offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1992-94, as the Saints reached the TSSAA state semifinals twice.
A 1988 graduate of Senatobia High School, Freeze received an associate’s degree from Northwest Mississippi Community College in 1990 and was a two-year letterwinner on the Ranger baseball team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in coaching and sports administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992.
It was while attending USM that he became active in mission projects, serving as a missionary in Houston, Salt Lake City, St. Petersburg, Russia and Australia. Freeze also served as the state president for the Mississippi Baptist Student Union.
Born in Oxford and raised in Independence, Mississippi, Hugh, 45, and his wife, Jill, are the parents of three daughters: Ragan (16), Jordan (15) and Madison (12).
College Head Coaching Record:
*did not coach team in bowl game
Previous Coaching Experience:
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