Hugh Freeze responds to questions about job security, investigation news

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday February 28, 2017


Ole Miss opened spring practice on Tuesday, but the topic hovering over the program remains the NCAA investigation into alleged violations, and the bowl ban self-imposed last week.

Hugh Freeze and school officials said last week they will appeal the charges of lack of institutional control and violation of head coach responsibility, among others. As the Rebels hit the field, Freeze said he’s glad the situation is moving forward.

“I’m grateful the investigative part of the case is over and we can move forward,” Freeze said. “I look forward to getting our response completed and submitted to the NCAA, and getting in front of the committee on infractions. I love how our team has responded. They’ve been the greatest testimony and encouragement of how to handle adversity. They’ve been remarkable.”

School officials continue to stand behind Freeze, and the coach said he’s not worried about his job security.

“I’m not really concerned,” he said when asked about job security. “I’ve got administrators that have watched me for five years through everything very closely. They’ve been so supportive, and have been unwavering in that.”

Freeze, who once characterized the issues as “mistakes,” has maintained he only promoted compliance, and that the 21 allegations (including 15 Level I) are the results of a select few people. Asked if he would have done anything differently, he said that’s always the case.

“That’s something I have and will continue to think about. I do that every day anyway,” he said. “As you look back from 2012 to ‘13, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, I have done a lot of things differently and will continue to evaluate that, seek people who have wisdom on what you could have done differently. I always sit back and think what I could have done differently.”

There’s still a long way to go in this process. The fact the school already self-imposed a one-year bowl ban shows what they’re bracing for.

Mike Gundy said recently that, upon the discovery of these allegations, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss weren’t on a level playing field when they met in the 2016 Sugar Bowl. Freeze replied Tuesday by saying maybe they could meet in the Sugar Bowl again and see how that goes.

But it won’t be this year.

“It’s all about perspective, to me,” Freeze said of the investigation. “None of us enjoy what we’re going through, and it’s about your perspective. Some people see a glass half-full, some half-empty. Really, it’s right both ways, because it’s how you see things. We’re choosing to see the opportunity preparing us for something down the road, whatever that might be, for each kid.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.