MISSISSIPPI MAN: Freeze Tapped To Return Titles To Ole Miss

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 5, 2011

VIDEO: Press Conference | Player Reaction
Photo Gallery | Fact Sheet (PDF) | Press Conference Transcript

OXFORD, Miss. -- A Mississippi native, inspirational leader and one of the nation's top rising coaches, Hugh Freeze was the first choice to return championships to Ole Miss Football and was introduced as the Rebels' 37th head coach Monday to a capacity crowd at the Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts on campus.

“This is home to me,” said Freeze during Monday’s emotional announcement. “This is a destination job.”

Freeze, a noted speaker and recruiter throughout his career, has enjoyed success at nearly every coaching level over the past 18 years, from high school to NAIA to FBS, and each stop has featured a high scoring offense and the ability to motivate young people. The most recent stop for the former Ole Miss assistant was a record-setting run at Arkansas State.

With Freeze as head coach this season, 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.

“Once we completed our interviews, our No. 1 choice was crystal clear,” said Mike Glenn, who joined Archie Manning as co-chair of Ole Miss’ search committee. “Our No. 1 choice was Hugh Freeze.”

While dominating the Sun Belt statistical categories, Freeze's Red Wolves rank top-25 in the nation in total offense (25th), total defense (20th), passing offense (17th), rushing defense (15th), pass efficiency defense (17th), scoring defense (15th), tackles for loss (12th) and sacks (17th). They are also one of only two teams in the NCAA to lead their conference in both total offense and defense.

Freeze's high octane offense has seen quarterback Ryan Aplin shatter the school record for career pass completions. This year, Aplin 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 ranks 11th nationally.

The Freeze defense also impressed in 2011 led by senior lineman Brandon Joiner, who is fourth in the NCAA in sacks. Senior DB Darryl Feemster registered six interceptions and is tied for 11th 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 spread offense, the Red Wolves broke nine offensive school records that included 4,841 yards of total offense ranked No. 2 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Freeze led the ASU offense to other school records such as total plays (856), first downs (262), pass attempts (438), pass completions (266), completion percentage (.607), passing yards (3,057), passing yards per game (254.8) and passing touchdowns (23).

The Red Wolves' potent offensive attack averaged 403.4 yards per game, eclipsing over 300 yards all 12 times it took the field for the first time in the history of the program. A-State posted at least 400 yards of total offense in seven games during the 2010 campaign, the most ever as an NCAA FBS member.

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, including 23 on the ground and 23 through the air, for the fourth most in school history and the most since the 1975 season.  While the Red Wolves' 23 passing touchdowns broke the school record, their 23 scores on the ground were the most by an ASU team since 2002.  Their 360 total points were the most since 1987 and tied the fourth most in ASU history.

Under Freeze, the A-State offense was among the most dangerous in the Sun Belt Conference in 2010.  The Red Wolves were ranked among the top two teams in the league in scoring offense, passing offense, total offense, pass efficiency, red zone offense and first downs.  In addition to its No. 40 national ranking in total offense and No. 42 spot in scoring offense, ASU ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in red zone offense at No. 28.

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 Conference history in the same categories.  Aplin was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times during the 2010 season.

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 the plays for a Lambuth team that averaged over 40 points per game and ranked ninth nationally in total yards per game (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 offense and eighth in scoring offense per game.

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.  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. 

Before going to Ole Miss, Freeze served 13 years at Briarcrest Christian School in 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, which included an undefeated season in 1996, while at Briarcrest and led the school to state championship titles in 2002 and 2004.  Briarcrest won regional championships 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 Saints' 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 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.

Hugh, 42, and his wife, Jill, are the parents of three daughters, Ragan (13), Jordan (12), and Madison (9).

From staff and AP reports.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 15-21)

      Monday, September 22, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 15-21, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss went 4-0 to capture the Rebel Classic and improve to 14-0 on the season.- Through four weeks of the season, the Rebels have equaled last year's win total (14-17).- Sophomore... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Sept. 21

      Sunday, September 21, 2014 - Athletics

      This is the fourth installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more

    • Rebels Finish Non-Conference on High Note

      Saturday, September 20, 2014 - Volleyball

      The Ole Miss Volleyball team remained undefeated at 14-0 and matched last year's win total with a 4-0 weekend at the Rebel Classic capped by wins over Lamar (3-0) and Jackson State (3-1) Saturday. The last three sets against Jackson... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 4

      Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 4 - ULL (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.In case you missed it, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 1, The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 2 and The Season: Ole Miss... read more

    • Freeze Talks Open Date, SEC West

      Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - Football

      Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze's time on the SEC teleconference Wednesday, ahead of the Rebels' open date and return to action on Saturday, Sept. 27 against Memphis.Freeze's time on the call begins at the 1:50:18 mark. For the... read more

    • NASCAR's Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Visits Ole Miss

      Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - Football

      NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr., visited Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Olive Branch, Mississippi, native spoke to various student groups, including the football team. Stenhouse Jr. presented head coach Hugh Freeze with a firesuit, and Freeze presented him with an... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Sept. 8-14)

      Monday, September 15, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 8-14, 2014Volleyball- Ole Miss captured the Magnolia Invitational this past weekend to improve to 10-0, its best start in school history.- The Rebels downed UAB and Mercer 3-0 and then defeated Jacksonville State 3-1... read more

    • Historic Start to the Football Season

      Sunday, September 14, 2014 - Football

      After a 56-15 win over Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday, Ole Miss moved up four spots to No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll, released on Sunday.  Despite breaking into the top 10, the Rebels remain fifth among Southeastern Conference Western Division... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House - Sept. 14

      Sunday, September 14, 2014 - Athletics

      This is the third installment of Observations from the Best Seat in the House. The idea of this weekly feature will be to bring you all some of our observations from the previous week in Ole Miss Sports. This week... read more

    • Three Rebels Net First Goals of the Season

      Sunday, September 14, 2014 - Soccer

      Leading 1-0 after controlling the play for much of the game, Ole Miss opened up a 3-0 lead on Middle Tennessee with a pair of goals in the final minute of the first half on the way to a 4-0... read more

    • Golson's Buy-In Pays Off

      Saturday, September 13, 2014 - Football

      Senior cornerback Senquez Golson has come a long way since he was a freshman.  That season, he was most notably on the receiving end of a highlight reel juke from Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Three years later, as part... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss-ULL Motivational

      Saturday, September 13, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss vs ULL Official Team Motivational from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-ULL

      Saturday, September 13, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as Ole Miss faces Louisiana-Lafayette in its home opener Saturday. Wearing the Bull's-Eye After a 2-0 start with wins over Boise State and Vanderbilt, Ole Miss moved up to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll,... read more

    • Thompson Lifts Rebels to Historic Start

      Friday, September 12, 2014 - Volleyball

      With a chance to make history, Ole Miss dropped a first set for the first time this season. The Rebels answered the bell winning the next three sets to defeat Jacksonville State 3-1 and improve to 10-0 on the season,... read more

    • VIDEO: Return of The Grove

      Friday, September 12, 2014 - Football

      read more