Just one year ago, Hugh Freeze was in the cat bird’s seat with regard to his status as the head coach at Ole Miss. The 47-year-old was coming off a 10-3 season in Oxford and, given that the Rebels had improved in four consecutive seasons, there was every reason to believe that Freeze was a hot commodity in the coaching profession.
Fast forward to 2016 and the wheels seem to be coming off. Not only was Ole Miss a massive on-field disappointment with a 5-7 record, the school is now embroiled in a recruiting-based scandal with the NCAA. In fact, Travis Haney of 247Sports brings word that there is a segment of the Ole Miss following that believes Freeze is in real trouble with his job.
The other camp believes that Ole Miss should take a tack of self-preservation, either suspending or firing Freeze almost immediately as a “sacrifice” to avoid the second year of probation.
That second year is of utmost important because it would entail players being able to transfer without having to sit elsewhere.
Freeze, himself, told reporters last week that he was “unconcerned” with his job.
But, based on what’s alleged, he’s subject to “cause” termination in his contract. It’s “amazing” to multiple sources that he would be retained, even if the issues for firing Freeze would waive any buyout considerations.
It should be noted that Haney does present the flip side and that is one that is pro-Freeze. Still, it is hard to ignore the perception of negative momentum surrounding his job status and Haney quotes an agent with some damning evaluation of Freeze’s status with the program.
“But they could always find ways later to distance themselves. It’s still kind of early in this because we don’t know exactly what evidence the NCAA has. If they come in and lay down their cards and it looks bad, it’s hard to see how they could keep him. How could they?”
The big takeaway at this point is that it certainly would not be a surprise if Hugh Freeze was out of a job in the very near future. Perhaps he can avoid the full brunt of the storm but, until the dust settles in conjunction with the start of the 2017 season, nothing is off the table in Oxford.