Home Report: Auburn set to offer football coaching job to Liberty’s Hugh Freeze

Report: Auburn set to offer football coaching job to Liberty’s Hugh Freeze

Chris Graham
Liberty Hugh Freeze
Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze hoists the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl trophy after the Flames’ 37-34 win over Coastal Carolina. Photo courtesy Liberty Athletics.

Liberty announced last month that it had extended the contract of football coach Hugh Freeze through 2030 at an annual salary paying him more than Virginia coach Tony Elliott and Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry.

But Liberty can’t pay more than Auburn, which has reportedly offered its head coaching job to Freeze.

A formal offer could come as early as this evening, after Auburn’s Iron Bowl game against in-state rival Alabama.

His SEC pedigree – Freeze was 39-25 at Ole Miss before being forced to resign in the face of the revelations that he had used a university-issued cellphone to make calls to escort services, and a subsequent NCAA investigation found the program guilty of numerous academic and recruiting violations on his watch – has made him a target for big-name job now that he’s somewhat rehabilitated his reputation.

Auburn is a big-name job.

The Tigers most recently won an FBS national title in 2011 under Gene Chizik, and lost to Florida State in the 2014 national-title game under Gus Malzahn after winning the SEC.

But the next head coach will be the program’s third in four years, after Auburn fired Malzahn following a 6-5 finish in 2020.

Malzahn was 68-36 in eight seasons at Auburn, but you don’t dare go 6-5 there.

His successor, Bryan Harsin, who had gone 69-19 in seven seasons at Boise State, was fired earlier this season after a 3-5 start, and a 9-12 record in a season and a half at the helm.

Former Auburn star Cadillac Williams has gone 2-1 as the interim, and there is interest on the part of Athletics Director John Cohen to keep Williams on the staff when a new head coach is brought on.

Cohen, according to ESPN, had narrowed his search for a new coach to Freeze and Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, but Kiffin has reportedly made it clear to Cohen and to his bosses at Ole Miss that he intends to remain there.

Which gets us to Freeze, who is 34-14 in four seasons at Liberty, including 8-3 in 2022.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].