- Liberty University has signed head football coach Hugh Freeze to a lucrative contract extension.
- The deal will run through the 2028 season and reportedly will pay Freeze in excess of $4 million USD per season.
- With the new contract, Freeze becomes one of the highest paid college football coaches outside of the ‘Power 5’ conferences.
If Hugh Freeze ever gets tired of coaching college football he could write a book about recovering from personal and professional setbacks. In 2017, Freeze was forced to resign as head coach of Ole Miss University for violating the ‘morals clause’ of his contract. Among other things, phone calls to a local escort service were found on a cellphone issued to Freeze. He initially claimed that it was a ‘misdialed number’ but there was one problem–he ‘misdialed’ the number on repeated occasions.
Freeze spent just over a year out of the game when he accepted the head coaching position at Liberty University in December 2018. Liberty went 8-5 in Freeze’s first season at the school and his career has been heading in the right direction ever since. He signed a five year contract extension in 2019 and took the Flames to a 10-1 record in 2020. The only loss was by 1 point to North Carolina State and Liberty missed being undefeated by this razor slim margin. After the 2020 season, he became a top candidate for a number of head coaching vacancies including South Carolina and Auburn who were looking to replace head coaches Will Muschamp and Gus Malzahn respectively. Freeze declined to even be interviewed for these plum SEC jobs opting to remain at Liberty.
Liberty regressed to 7-5 in 2021 but one thing didn’t change–interest in Freeze as a head coaching candidate. Earlier this week, the school put any change that Freeze might bolt for a higher profile program to rest by signing their head coach to a lucrative contract extension that runs through 2028. Financial terms were not released but reports suggest the deal is worth more than $4 million USD annually making Freeze one of highest paid non ‘Power 5 conference’ coaches in college football. Further reports suggest that his deal will pay him more than at least five SEC head coaches are making.
Freeze’s initial public comment had less to do with the big checks he’d now be pulling down and more to do with his new contract’s impact on recruiting:
“It’s certainly something our recruiting department would get out prior to me leaving Sunday to go recruit to make sure that everyone that we’re after knows where we stand. And so I do think it’s helpful, for sure, and I’m excited to get that in our recruits’ hands.”
He continued to say that he’s happy to be coaching at a school where everyone is on the same page in terms of the direction of the football program:
“What matters to me is just that I’m being as transparent with our kids and our administration and what we’re trying to do here. And again, I think it’s a compliment to this place and to our commitment to being successful and to what our kids and staff have done here.”
Athletic Director Ian McCaw commended Freeze’s leadership in a statement released announcing his contract extension:
“We are grateful for Coach Freeze’s outstanding leadership of our football program and positive impact on our student-athletes. Liberty football continues to thrive and we are excited that Coach Freeze will lead our transition into Conference USA.”
Liberty moved up to the FBS level in 2018 and have been competing as an independent ever since. They will be joining Conference USA for the 2023 season.