Nov 6, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze walks down the sideline during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Liberty locks up Hugh Freeze through 2028

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze will earn more than $4 million per season on a contract extension through the 2028 season, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The deal would make Freeze, 52, one of the nation’s highest-paid coaches outside of the Power 5.

Freeze’s Flames are 7-4 this season heading into Saturday’s regular season finale against Army.

He is 25-10 in his third season with the independent program in Lynchburg, Va., including a 10-1 campaign in 2020.

The former Ole Miss and Arkansas State head coach guided the Flames to bowl wins in each of the program’s first two years at the FBS level.

Freeze’s name has been linked to several higher-profile coaching positions based on his success at Liberty.

He went 10-3 in his lone season at Arkansas State in 2011 and compiled a 39-25 record at Ole Miss from 2013-16.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze walks down the sideline during the first quarter against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss apologizes for Twitter account trolling Hugh Freeze

Officials from Ole Miss apologized for a pair of since-deleted tweets from the school’s official football Twitter account that trolled Hugh Freeze on Saturday following the Rebels’ 27-14 win over Liberty at Oxford, Miss.

The tweets focused on events that occurred during Freeze’s coaching tenure at both Ole Miss and Liberty.

The first read, “If you have complaints about this result, send it to lufootball@liberty.edu. If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family.”

That reference stems from a tweet from Freeze in 2013 that challenged allegations of NCAA violations. The end result was Ole Miss was placed on probation in 2017 and received a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

The second tweet from the Ole Miss football account included a picture of Freeze coaching from a hospital bed two years ago while recovering from surgery following a strand of staph infection that complicated a herniated disc in his back.

“These tweets were unfortunate and not who we are in Ole Miss athletics,” Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter told ESPN. “When I found out about them, they were immediately taken down. I have spoken with (Liberty athletic director) Ian McCaw to relay my sincere apology. We will work to do better in the future.”

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin offered his apologies to Freeze and Liberty when informed of the tweets.

“I have no affiliation with the Ole Miss football Twitter site, even though it may sound strange, and I first learned about the tweets after my press conference when Keith Carter told me about them,” Kiffin told ESPN. “I’m completely embarrassed that anyone would put something out there like that making it look like it was a part of Ole Miss football. It was extremely disrespectful, bush league and classless, and I apologize, even though I had nothing to do with it, to Liberty and Hugh Freeze.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze celebrates a win as Liberty Flames defensive lineman Jessie Lemonier (11) looks on after the Cure Bowl against the Georgia Southern Eagles  at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Liberty coach Freeze tests positive for COVID-19

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze has tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced on Friday.

Per the school, Freeze received the positive test result earlier in the week and has experienced mild symptoms.

“Since learning of the positive test result, Coach Freeze has self-isolated himself and he continues to follow all guidelines set forth by the Liberty University medical staff and local health officials,” Liberty wrote in a statement. “He looks forward to rejoining the team for bowl preparation, next week.”

“As of today, my symptoms are sinus congestion, body/back aches/no smell or taste and fatigue. Hopeful that’s all I experience,” Freeze, 51, told CBS Sports.

The Flames answered an 8-5 season by winning their first eight games and posting a 9-1 record in 2020. Liberty was scheduled to play Coastal Carolina last weekend before the game was canceled due to COVID-19 cases among the Flames team.

Last month, Liberty extended Freeze’s contract through the 2026 season.

Prior to his time at the Lynchburg, Va.-based school, Freeze coached at Arkansas State (10-3 in 2011) and Ole Miss (39-25 from 2012-16).

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA; Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze (right) and Georgia Southern Eagles head coach Chad Lunsford talk before the game at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Freeze says he isn’t considering leaving Liberty

Liberty coach Hugh Freeze said he isn’t interested in leaving his current role, despite his name being mentioned for the open head coach job at South Carolina.

“I won’t even entertain things of that nature at this point,” Freeze said in an interview that aired Saturday on ESPN’s “College GameDay.”

“I’m at total peace with staying here, as long as they’ll have me.”

Less than two weeks ago, Liberty extended Freeze’s contract through the 2026 season. Financial terms were not announced, but ESPN said he will be one of the five highest-paid non-Power 5 coaches in college football, which would put his salary in excess of $3 million per year.

He reportedly is earning $2 million this season, his second at the Lynchburg, Va., school.

His Flames (8-0) are ranked No. 21 entering Saturday night’s scheduled game at North Carolina State (5-3).

Freeze, 51, has experience in the Southeastern Conference, coaching Ole Miss to a 39-25 record and three bowl wins over five seasons (2012-16). He resigned before the 2017 season after the school discovered he had used his business cellphone to make calls to an escort service.

Liberty gave him an opportunity to be a head coach again.

“I am thankful for the strong commitment and support from President (Jerry) Prevo and our leadership and look forward to continuing to build this program,” Freeze said when his contract was announced. “Our family along with the coaching staff, support personnel and players are grateful to have the opportunity to represent this University.”

South Carolina fired Will Muschamp last Sunday after a 59-42 loss to Ole Miss. The Gamecocks are 2-5 on the season.

Muschamp was scheduled to earn $4.6 million this season, though he agreed to a reduction of five percent as a cost-saving measure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA;  Liberty coach Hugh Freeze (middle) in the second half during a game against Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.  Mandatory Credit: Dennis Nett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Liberty extends Freeze’s contract through 2026

Amid the best start in school history, Liberty extended head coach Hugh Freeze’s contract through the 2026 season on Wednesday.

The No. 22 Flames improved to 7-0 on Saturday with a last-second, 38-35 victory against Virginia Tech.

“Coach Freeze is a wonderful blessing to Liberty and we are grateful for his outstanding leadership of our football program and mentorship of our football student-athletes,” athletic director Ian McCaw said in a news release. “All aspects of the program are on the rise including on field performance, academics, recruiting and operations.”

The school did not provide financial details. Last December, Freeze signed a five-year extension worth a reported $2 million per season.

Freeze is 15-5 through two seasons with the program in Lynchburg, Va. Prior to that, he coached at Arkansas State (10-3 in 2011) and Ole Miss (39-25 from 2012-16).

“I am thankful for the strong commitment and support from President (Jerry) Prevo and our leadership and look forward to continuing to build this program,” Freeze said. “Our family along with the coaching staff, support personnel and players are grateful to have the opportunity to represent this University.”

Liberty, which moved up to the FBS level in 2018, is one of two independent schools that are currently unbeaten and ranked in the Top 25. No. 9 BYU is 8-0.

–Field Level Media