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Report: Freeze to be named Auburn head coach

Hugh Freeze is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach at Auburn University, sources tell Sports Illustrated. Freeze has been the head coach for Liberty the past four seasons.

Freeze brings an impressive coaching record and has a knack for developing talent. While at Liberty, Freeze took a program that was making the move from the Football Championship Series (FCS) to the Football Bowl Series (FBS) to one of the best programs in the Group of 5.

Under his leadership, Liberty made a bowl game every season, including a 10-win campaign in 2020. Overall, the Flames went 34-15 with Freeze as head coach. Additionally, he was able to develop talent, specifically at the quarterback position. Former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis transferred to Liberty where he would go on to become a third-round draft pick in 2022.

Prior to his stint at Liberty, Freeze was successful as the head coach at Ole Miss. He was able to land some of the highest-rated recruiting classes in the program’s history while also guiding them to consecutive nine-win seasons and berths in the Peach and Sugar bowls.

Perhaps of most importance to many Auburn loyalists is Freeze’s record against Alabama’s Nick Saban. Freeze was able to knock off the legendary Saban in consecutive years in 2014 and 2015.

Despite his on-the-field success, Freeze’s tenure at Ole Miss did culminate in turmoil.

An investigation revealed a lack of institutional control, providing impermissible benefits to players, and numerous recruiting and academic violations. Additionally, a separate investigation discovered that Freeze had made multiple calls to escort services during his time in Oxford.

Freeze recently signed an extension with Liberty that made him the highest paid coach in the Group of 5.

UPDATE 4:44 p.m.:

Freeze and Auburn have agreed to a six-year contract, with an average salary of $6.5 million a year, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

Ben Richardson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

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