Hugh Freeze Reached Out to Texas Tech About Head Coaching Vacancy
I was able to talk to Don Williams this afternoon on Ryan Hyatt's Raiderland to talk about the ongoing search for Texas Tech's head coaching vacancy. The conversation was illuminating as always as Don and I discussed the candidates that have been mentioned widely and a few other names that caught my eye.
Namely, Hugh Freeze, who is currently the head coach at Liberty and has the Flames heading to Conference USA after being an FBS independent for the last four seasons after graduating from the FCS level. Freeze's past is loaded, but his resume speaks for itself.
He's 25-8 at Liberty. He was 10-3 at Arkansas State in a single season at the school.
He's most popular from his time at Ole Miss though, where he was 39-25 and went to four straight bowls before everything came unraveled. At Ole Miss, his offense revolutionized the slow SEC and forced Alabama to update after the Rebels beat Saban and the boys in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015.
The Ole Miss record would look even better if not for the 5-7 2016 season where Freeze was dealing with personal problems that would eventually come to light. Freeze would admit to his wife that he'd had an affair, and then a lawsuit by former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt against the school revealed that Freeze had a troubling pattern of calls to an escort service on his school-provided phone.
Freeze would quickly resign.
While talking to Williams this afternoon, he mentioned that there were almost a dozen candidates or agents that have inquired about the opening and that Freeze was one of them. I don't know about Freeze's personal life since his issues in 2016. I don't know about his "Texas Ties". I do think that Hugh Freeze could win football games at Texas Tech.
There are also a myriad of recruiting violations and more connected to Ole Miss through Nutt and Freeze so the waters get murky even beyond Freeze's personal problems during that time. SI.com had a great write-up on Freeze last year if you want to really dig into his situation.
According to Williams, the search committee led by Kirby Hocutt has extensive contacts, so it's not unlikely that Freeze could get an interview, but it's also not a slam dunk that he'd be considered further than the initial contact.
Williams then identified Baylor's Joey McGuire as a candidate that has an interview scheduled with Texas Tech's search committee and also Oklahoma's Alex Grinch who has led the Sooner's resurgence defensively.
Anthony Lynn was another name that Don worked in as a legitimate possibility for the vacancy but there are more unknowns related to that hire than knowns. What kind of collegiate staff could Lynn build? What would the recruiting be like? The style differences between NFL and the Big 12 would also create a list of trials in and of itself.
You can listen to the entire interview with Don Williams here:
One thing is for sure. This committee is not rushing to any decisions as the football program did with Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Wells. They very might well have if Jeff Traylor hadn't turned them down, but with Traylor re-upping, at UTSA the search is fully on.
Below is an updated list of candidates with some more information from Don Williams on a few of the candidates as well. This is list is a creation of my own and not a direct list of every candidate that the University and the search committee are discussing.