Auburn, Alabama – Hugh FreeseA patchy past in the Southeastern Conference means he will have to win more than games. He will also have to win over Auburn’s fans.
Freese’s return to the league, more than five years after his controversial departure, was met with major social media backlash from wary fans. The former Mississippi and Liberty coach had to open up about his past during Tuesday’s introductory press conference, as well as his belief that Auburn can change quickly, and urged fans to “please give me a chance to earn your trust.”
“Give me some time. Get to know us. Get to know our family. Find out the truth about our history,” Freese said. this guy and this family.
“But that’s all you can ask for man, give us a chance to earn your trust and I think you’ll love the end result.”
His message clearly resonated with sports director John Cohen. Now he has to win over fans tired of awkwardness, including the former manager’s disastrous 21-game stint. Brian Hars.
Auburn signed Freese to a six-year contract worth at least $6.5 million a year, making him the eighth highest paid coach in the SEC. The buyout, if Freese is fired for no reason, will be 75% of his remaining contract.
Freese quit Ole Miss in the summer of 2017 after school officials uncovered a “personal misconduct scheme” that began with a call to an escort number on a university-issued mobile phone. The program ended up on NCAA probation for 21 academic, booster, and recruiting misconduct violations, mostly under Freese’s supervision.
Still Cohen, who was in Mississippi at the time, said Freese was his best bet from the start.
“Coach Freese has been completely open about his past infractions,” Cohen said. “He repented and had a plan of accountability that he has been using for the past five plus years.
“Everything he disclosed to us turned out to be accurate after speaking with credible sources in the industry. So Coach Freese was honest and truthful.”
Freese’s hiring was put on hold after a former Liberty student emailed Auburn officials a direct message the coach sent her in defense of the Flames’ athletic director after she made critical comments. The woman said she was sexually assaulted in Liberty and reached a settlement, a case that preceded Freese’s arrival.
Cohen did not answer questions from reporters at the press conference, and later declined to comment when the Associated Press asked about the direct message.
Freese went 103-47 on the field in 13 seasons in four programs, but 27 of those Ole Miss victories were voided due to NCAA infractions. He spent the last four seasons at the Liberty.
Freeze’s first step was to save Carnell Williams on staff as a running coach and assistant head coach. Williams, a former Auburn All-American, served as interim coach for the last four games.
He was a candidate for the main position, interviewed Cohen about a week ago. Williams expressed support for Freeze.
“I had the opportunity to state my position, but listen, this is old news,” said Williams, who was present at the press conference. “As I told them when they brought me the news, to be honest, they looked more disappointed than me. They were, “I’m sorry.” But I’m kind of disappointed, (but) I’m not upset.”
Freese is not the first high-profile coach with NCAA baggage to be hired by Auburn. Bruce Pearl was hired in the final months of his sentence for infractions that led to his dismissal from Tennessee.
Pearl turned the program into a force for the SEC, but not without problems.
Auburn self-imposed a post-season suspension two years ago over a bribery scheme involving former assistant coach Chuck Person. Pearl served a two-game suspension, while players Austin Wiley and Dangel Purifoy were declared unfit for at least one season. The man later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to receive a bribe.
Freese is now getting a second chance to change the script at the SEC.
“I don’t know if ‘rewrite history’ is the right word,” he said. But it will be a good ending.
Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, who has coached a high school team in Tennessee for the past four years, is a leading candidate for the new UAB coach, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press.
The man spoke on condition of anonymity because the UAB does not release details of its search.
Dilfer, who led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl championship in 2000, has been the head coach of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, since 2019. Academy.
He has no previous college coaching experience.
Dilfer’s text message was not immediately returned.
Football Scoop first reported that UAB was targeting Dilfer.
A former first-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994, Dilfer spent 14 seasons in the NFL. After retiring in 2008, he moved into radio broadcasting.
At the same time, Dilfer became a member of the Elite 11 Defenders camp for the best promising schools in the country.
He moved on to coaching at Lipscomb Academy High School, a private Christian school in suburban Nashville. This season the team is 12-0.
At the start of the 2021 season, Dilfer issued a public apology after a social media video showed him pushing and yelling at one of his players. The player was the son of Dilfer’s former NFL teammate, kicker Phil Dawson.
UAB is trying to fill the vacancy created when Bill Clark resigned in August, citing old problems.
offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent was named interim coach and led the Blazers to a 6-6 record this season.
West Virginia is hiring North Texas athletic director Ren Baker as its new advertising director, two people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
People spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because contract details were still being worked out, but an official announcement from the school was pending.
Baker has been with North Texas since 2016, and since he took office, Mean Green’s athletic programs have won 17 conference and division titles. Football teams play in the Conference USA Championship with the number 23 UTSA.
The Oklahoma native has previously worked in Memphis and Missouri.
The Mountaineers just finished the season 5-7.