Hot Board: Ole Miss begins process to replace Hugh Freeze

Hot Board: Ole Miss begins process to replace Hugh Freeze”

MS coach Hugh Freeze resigned instead of being fired Thursday for what Ole Miss called a pattern of personal misconduct. Neither the lawsuit nor the NCAA investigation required knowledge of Freeze's possible sexcapades to be made public; this move was one of a man that felt he had been unduly wronged, fighting for nothing more than his honor (and punitive damages, of course).

USA Today Sports reported Thursday that "a one-minute call made from the University-issued phone of Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze to a number associated with a female escort service was raised as a potential issue in the back-and-forth between the university's legal counsel and the attorney for former Rebels football coach Houston Nutt". "As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern". The call only lasted one minute, raising the possibility that it was a wrong number.

"Once we looked at the rest of the phone records we found a pattern", Bjork said, per's Mark Schlabach.

Ole Miss announced that Freeze had resigned Thursday evening, hours after the school said it would provide a written statement to USA TODAY Sports regarding the phone call.

Bjork said that if Freeze had not offered his resignation he would have been fired for cause, citing the "moral turpitude" clause in Freeze's contract.

"His privacy is important", Bjork said. 'The conduct was just not something we could continue with as our head coach'.

Effectively immediately, assistant head coach/co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke will serve as interim head coach for the 2017-18 season. "We talked about 40-something days 'til opening game, and I think they handled it very well", Bjork said.

It won't be easy to find a great hire for Ole Miss given all the trouble the school is in.

Does the elder Patterson feel deceived by Freeze and all the allegations surrounding the program?

February 23, 2017: Ole Miss self-imposes a one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season, after the university receives a new NCAA notice of allegations that accuses the school of a lack of institutional control and Freeze of failure to monitor his coaching staff.

The Ole Miss program was under a lot of stress even before Freeze's resignation. Since then, Ole Miss has received two notices of allegations that include 21 possible violations, most of which occurred while Freeze has been head coach.

A center at Ole Miss from 1995-98, Luke hails from a family that has deep roots in Oxford. Soon after, Tech and Ole Miss became his top choices. Scandals are just part of the landscape nowadays, and Hugh Freeze was just the latest example of what it can do to a program, or career in his case. He quickly drew attention for unprecedented recruiting success, headlined by a 2013 class that included five-star recruits Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche.

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