Ole Miss Football Coach Hugh Freeze Resigns Amid Escort-Service Calls Scandal - uSports.org

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Ole Miss Football Coach Hugh Freeze Resigns Amid Escort-Service Calls Scandal

University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned effective immediately on Thursday night following allegations of phone calls Freeze made to a number associated with a female escort service.

Ole Miss Football NEWS: Hugh Freeze

Assistant head coach Matt Luke — who is in his sixth season as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach — was named acting head coach.


According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, it was Rebels athletic director Ross Bjork who told the network that Ole Miss officials discovered a pattern of Freeze’s calls to the service.


Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter announced in a press conference late Thursday that 47-year-old Freeze would resign immediately after confirming to him and Bjork “a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards we expect from the leader of our football team.”

“While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered,” Vitter added.

Bjork said Freeze would have been fired had he refused to resign. The Rebels head coach had approximately $2 million remaining on his contract this year, $5 million next year and $5.15 million for the 2019 season but will not be paid going forward.

The Ole Miss athletic director also revealed that university officials delved deep into Freeze’s phone records on a school-provided cellphone and searched as far back as 2012, shortly after the coach was hired.

“Once we looked at the rest of the phone records we found a pattern,” Bjork told ESPN. “It was troubling.”

Freeze’s predecessor Houston Nutt — who served as Ole Miss’s football coach from 2008 to 2011 and is now a college football analyst for CBS Sports — filed a federal lawsuit against the university on July 12 alleging that his former employer violated the terms of its severance agreement. One day afterward, Nutt’s attorney Thomas Mars sent an e-mail to the school’s general counsel Lee Tyner, referencing a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain.”

The call Mars was referring to was one Freeze made on the night of Jan. 19, 2016, to a Detroit (313) area code and lasted just one minute, according to the emails the two parties exchanged. However, the phone number is associated with several Web sites advertising a female escort based in Tampa, Fla., according to USA TODAY Sports.

Tyner answered on July 14 by dismissing Mars’ suggestion that the phone call might be connected to Ole Miss’ ongoing NCAA infractions case. Tyner said the university had investigated the matter and that “the call to the Detroit number that lasted one minute (or less) appears to be a misdial.”

When ESPN asked Freeze about the phone call, the head coach vehemently denied purposely calling an escort service.

“We call the wrong numbers all the time,” Freeze said.

In his six seasons in charge of Ole Miss Football, Freeze led the Rebels to a 39-25 record, including a 19-21 mark against SEC rivals. After going 10-3 in 2015, the football program fell to 5-7 this past season. The Rebels begin the next season against South Alabama in about six weeks.

Ole Miss was recently rocked by another scandal. In February, the university self-imposed a one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season after it received a new NCAA notice of allegations that accused the school of lack of institutional control and Freeze of failure to monitor his coaching staff.

Following the allegations, which cite 21 rule violations in total, the Rebels have been forced to forfeit their share of SEC postseason revenues for this coming season, which could be as much as $7.8 million.

The NCAA also accused Ole Miss’s football program of providing improper benefits, including cash payments and merchandise, to prospects, as well as lodging and meals to recruits and their families, among other charges.

The Rebels are expected to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Indianapolis later this summer, possibly in September.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 01: Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels reacts against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena

Writer and assistant editor for usports.org. NY Giants and Rangers fan. Film and TV enthusiast (especially Harry Potter and The Office) and lover of foreign languages and cultures.