Auburn to Hire Hugh Freeze

Auburn Freeze

According to multiple sources, the Auburn Tigers are set to hire Hugh Freeze as their new head football coach. Freeze will be leaving Liberty University after four years as head coach for the Flames. He entered the final week of the regular season at 8-4 overall and 34-15 during his tenure there. The Tigers have been led by interim head coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams since the firing of Bryan Harsin on October 31st. Williams has led the Tigers to a 2-2 record since the dismissal. This will be the third straight head coach by the Tigers that also spent time at Arkansas State. Gus Malzahn and Harsin coached there as well.

Auburn to Hire Hugh Freeze

Why Not Lane?

There had been much speculation over the past week that Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin would be the next head coach for the Auburn Tigers. The rumors hit a fever pitch when Jon Sokoloff of WCBI News in Mississippi tweeted that the Rebels coach was headed to Auburn. This caught the attention of Kiffin, but he did not do much to shoot the rumors down. Perhaps it had an impact on Ole Miss losing the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State 24-22. Early on Saturday, ESPN’s Chris Low reported that Kiffin would remain with Ole Miss and sign an extension. Auburn then turned their attention to their second choice in Freeze.

Benefits of Freeze

It was very important for Auburn to find someone that would check all the boxes. The Tigers needed a coach that would have head coaching experience, and know the landscape in the SEC. Freeze has been successful wherever he has been a head coach. After a successful high school career that included coaching Michael Oher, he got his first college head coaching job at Arkansas State. In his lone season there he went 10-2 and won the Sun Belt. He would go on to Ole Miss where on the field he was 39-25 as head coach with two New Years Six bowl appearances. He had 27 of those games taken away due to recruiting and academic violations by the program.

The NCAA issues were not his downfall in Oxford though. When calls to escort services were discovered that he made on the university-furnished phone, he stepped down as head coach. Freeze would return to the sideline with Liberty in 2019 and find immediate success. In 2022, he led the Flames to a 10-1 record and has won at least eight games each season. Freeze is one of the best offensive minds in all of college football, and has shown the ability to be a great quarterback developer. The most recent example is Malik Willis who was once an Auburn Tiger. Willis was drafted by the Tennessee Titans, and has started two games this season. Auburn has struggled at quarterback this season with T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford, plus bad offensive line play has not helped. Freeze could help fix those woes.

What happens with Cadillac?

Cadillac Williams has given the program exactly what it needed in his time as the interim head coach. He gave the team and the fanbase energy and hope for the future of the program. Gus Malzahn brought Williams in as running backs coach in 2019, and stayed on when Harsin was hired. The team has responded to his leadership and has an obvious love for “Coach Lac.” It would be a great first decision for Freeze to keep Williams on the staff as either back to coaching the running backs or a higher position on the coaching staff.

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