Reports: Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze hired by Auburn
OXFORD, Miss. – Auburn’s short list for a coach to replace the fired Bryan Harsin appears to have ended with a former Ole Miss coach.
Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Chris Low reported Auburn will soon be announcing the hiring of Hugh Freeze.
Official announcement on Hugh Freeze’s hiring as @AuburnFootball’s next head coach is expected later today, sources tell ESPN.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) November 28, 2022
Freeze coached at Ole Miss from 2012-2016. During his time with the Rebels, he led the team to a Sugar Bowl win and — most importantly to Tigers’ fans — he beat Nick Saban and Alabama twice.
Freeze was offered the job on the Plains after current Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin turned down Auburn’s offer. Kiffin is expected to sign an extension to stay with the Rebels in the aftermath of being courted by Auburn.
Freeze agreed to a new eight-year deal at Liberty in October with an average salary of just under $5 million per year, making him one of the highest-paid Group of Five coaches in the country.
Freeze’s contract details with the Tigers are not clear at the moment, but reports suggest Auburn is expected to owe Liberty about $3 million in buyout money for hiring him.
Freeze is now Auburn’s third different head coach in the last four years. Former Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn, currently at UCF, was fired at the end of the 2020 season, while Harsin lasted parts of two seasons before being fired.
The Tigers last won an SEC championship in 2013, Malzahn’s first season as head coach, and also played in the BCS national championship game that season and lost to Florida State.
Freeze has spent four years with the Flames and has an 8-4 record this season, including a win at Arkansas. Last week, Liberty was routed at home by New Mexico State, 49-14. The Flames dropped their last three games of the regular season.
The Rebels are scheduled to play at Auburn Oct. 21, 2023.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.