Until about 2 weeks ago, Hugh Freeze’s coaching career was a real-life Facing The Giants story: he had no college football experience, but would go on to lead Briarcrest Academy (Memphis, TN) to two state football championships and four state girls basketball championships.
From there, he would go on to take an Ole Miss football program that was notoriously low-performing and take them to four bowl appearances, including two victories against Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide.
He was known as a devout Christian who held students and players to high standards of conduct, not unlike Bill McCartney who once coached University of Colorado and founded Promise Keepers.
But now, Freeze is gone. Part of that downfall began with some recruiting violations–that’s bad, but not the end of the world–but the final straw was “personal conduct”, including at least one phone call, on his university-issued cell phone, to an escort service.
Now, the accusations are bubbling, going all the way back to his days at Briarcrest. (HT: Amy Smith of Watch Keep via FB.)
While it does not appear that the accusations involve him having sex with students, they do call into question both his judgment and a potentially-twisted sexuality.
Back in the day, when I was in middle/high school (8th-9th grade) in Memphis, paddling was not uncommon.
I was paddled 5 times. Twice by one of the principals and three of those times by one of the football coaches. One of which involved the coach goofing off (I made him laugh when I responded with, “Thank you sir may I have another!”, so he ended the punishment right then.)
But typically, whenever a teacher gave a paddling, he (or she) had at least one other teacher as a witness. And if the recipient of the paddling was female, the teacher doing the paddling was typically female.
From what I am reading about Freeze, if the accusations are true then there is some definite red flag creepiness.
I mean seriously…having a girl change her shirt in your office???
(Having her in his office without at least one other staffer present would be very bad judgment. But having her change her shirt in his office is a very serious issue.)
Personally, I hope, for Freeze’s sake, that those were just instances of bad judgment and that he learned his lessons.
But the cynic in me says he has a serious problem and he needs to take this opportunity to face those demons before it really blows up in his face.
Getting fired from a coaching job for “personal conduct” is not the end of the world, as the case of University of Louisille football coach Bobby Petrino shows.
But if Freeze does not face his demons, he’s a time bomb waiting to explode.