Auburn has found its coach.
Per sources connected to ATP, Auburn is finalizing a deal to hire Liberty coach Hugh Freeze.
This news comes days after reports that current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin would be staying with the Rebels and signing an extension after flirting with the possibility of becoming the next head football coach on the Plains.
Freeze, 53, has spent the last four seasons as head coach at Liberty, compiling a 34-14 record, including three bowl appearances and a 10-1 season in 2020. From 2012-2016, he was head coach at Ole Miss but was forced to resign after recruiting and academic violations levied against both him and former Rebels coach Houston Nutt. Prior to having 27 wins vacated, Freeze’s on-field record at Ole Miss was 39-25.
Auburn has now hired three straight coaches who have one year of experience at Arkansas State (Gus Malzahn, Bryan Harsin being the other two). In fact, the collective of Freeze, Malzahn and Harsin coached in back-to-back-to-back seasons with the Red Wolves from 2011-2013.
Freeze helped Liberty smoothly transition from the FCS level, taking over the job for Turner Gill following the Flames’ inaugural season as an FBS program in 2018. Under Freeze, Liberty posted a 10-1 record in 2020, arguably their best season in program history and tying the most wins in a single season (2008).
Liberty started the 2022 season off 8-1 – including a win over Arkansas – but closed the regular season on a three-game losing streak to UConn (one of the worst programs in FBS), Virginia Tech (who is in the midst of their worst season since 1988), and New Mexico State.
There was some pushback on social media surrounding the proposition of hiring Freeze – mainly in relation to the baggage that comes with him – but some were also questioning whether or not he would be fit to elevate the program back to where they were before the Bryan Harsin era.
Auburn decided that regardless of what the online fanbase thought, Hugh Freeze was the right man to hire.