Hugh Freeze was named the 31st head football coach in Auburn’s 129-year history on Nov. 28, 2022. An experienced head coach at the collegiate level for 12 years, Freeze has quickly elevated each program he’s led, including Ole Miss and most recently, Liberty.
The head coach at Liberty from 2019-22, Freeze led the Flames to four bowl games and a 34-15 record.
Freeze has experienced similar success at each of his head coaching stops prior to Liberty that include Lambuth University (2008-09), Arkansas State (2011) and Ole Miss (2012-16). The Oxford, Mississippi, native led each school to double-digit win seasons, while helping Ole Miss to a top 10 national finish in 2015. His on-field coaching record in 12 years is 103-47.
Freeze guided Liberty to a 10-1 overall record in 2020 and the team’s first-ever national ranking as it finished No. 17 in the country. That season Liberty had the best start in program history (8-0), tied the program record for wins (10) and defeated two Power 5 programs in Syracuse and Virginia Tech. For his efforts, Freeze was a finalist for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award that season.
While the head coach at Ole Miss, Freeze led it back to championship form during his five seasons, guiding it to bowl games during three of his five years, including wins in the 2013 Music City bowl and the 2016 Sugar Bowl.
Freeze’s time in Oxford was highlighted by a 10-3 campaign in 2015, the program’s first 10-win season since 2003. The Rebels won their first four games of the 2015 season, including a 43-37 road victory over No. 2 Alabama, Ole Miss’ first win in Tuscaloosa, since 1988.
The Rebels were ranked as high as No. 3 in the national polls in both 2014 and 2015 and finished top 10 in the country for the first time since 1969 after the Sugar Bowl win. Ole Miss was ranked in the top 25 for 45 weeks over his five-year tenure, including a string of 27-straight weeks in the polls for the first time since 1957-62.
In 2013, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) awarded Freeze the Grant Teaff Coach of the Year award. Freeze has been heavily involved with FCA during his entire coaching career and has been featured in the FCA Magazine and spoken at FCA functions. Freeze was also a finalist for the 2014 Bear Bryant Award and the 2014 Dobb Trophy.
As head coach at Arkansas State in 2011, the Red Wolves captured the Sun Belt Conference championship with a 10-2 overall record. It marked the program’s first 10-win season since 1986 and the best debut season ever by an A-State head coach. Freeze was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year, while 13 of his pupils earned all-conference honors. Freeze’s first season in Jonesboro saw him serve as Arkansas State’s offensive coordinator, guiding the Red Wolves’ offense to a record-breaking year in 2010.
Freeze served 13 years at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was the Saints’ head football coach from 1995 to 2004, running the no-huddle “spread system” for six years that led to six straight state championship games.
Freeze compiled a 99-23 record while at Briarcrest, which included an undefeated season in 1996 and state championship titles in 2002 and 2004. He won six regional titles and was the Region 8-AA Coach of the Year five times and Associated Press Coach of the Year four times. Among his talented players during that period were eventual Rebels and former NFL starters Michael Oher and Greg Hardy.
Before assuming the role of head coach at Briarcrest, Freeze served as the teams’ offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 1992-94, as the Saints reached the TSSAA state semifinals twice.
A 1988 graduate of Senatobia High School, Freeze received an associate’s degree from Northwest Mississippi Community College in 1990 and was a two-year letterwinner on the Ranger baseball team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in coaching and sports administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992.
It was while attending USM that he became active in mission projects, serving as a missionary in Houston, Salt Lake City, St. Petersburg, Russia and Australia. Freeze also served as the state president for the Mississippi Baptist Student Union.
Born in Oxford and raised in Independence, Mississippi, Hugh, and his wife, Jill, are the parents of three daughters: Ragan, Jordan and Madison. His daughter Jordan attended Auburn University and currently resides in Auburn.