After spending over a year under investigation, Huge Freeze has officially resigned as head coach of Ole Miss.
ANNOUNCEMENT | Hugh Freeze has resigned effective immediately. Matt Luke interim head coach. Press conference live at 7:30 PM CT on ESPNews.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) July 20, 2017
The school announced the resignation just before USA Today published a report on a one-minute phone call that Freeze allegedly made to an escort service from his university-issued phone. They note a legal document sent to the schools general counsel about a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain.”
This is a bit of a shocker. I know its unethical to use an employee issued phone for a personal matter but is it really that bad?
There’s definitely more to the story that we don’t know.
Hugh Freeze released this statement regarding the matter:
“I’ve got no idea, to be honest, I was in an 813 area code and that was a 313 number, I think that might have been a misdial. I don’t think there was even a conversation. There’s nothing to it.”
The call came to light as part of a federal lawsuit former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt filed against the school alleging it violated his severance agreement.
“Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, sent an e-mail to Lee Tyner, the school’s general counsel, referencing a ‘phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain,'” according to Dan Wolken of USA Today.
Yahoo Sports obtained the coach’s phone records, confirming the call lasted a single minute “raising the possibility” it was a misdial.
Wolken explained Nutt’s lawsuit alleges Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork were among the Ole Miss officials who “conspired to smear him” by telling reporters off the record many of the violations in the ongoing NCAA infractions case against the Rebels happened under Nutt.
However, Yahoo Sports noted the NCAA’s updated Notice of Allegations charged the program with 21 violations with 17 involving Freeze’s tenure.
Freeze finishes his tenure at Ole Miss with a 39-25 record through five seasons at Ole Miss, a span which was highlighted by a 10-3 mark and Sugar Bowl victory in the 2015 season. However, the Rebels struggled in 2016 after posting a winning campaign in each of Freeze’s first four years, finishing with a 5-7 mark and failing to make a bowl game for the first time since 2011.