Divisive hire comes days after former coach Turner Gill’s resignation.
On Nov. 7 Liberty University announced Hugh Freeze would be taking over as head football coach just days after former coach Turner Gill announced his retirement.
Freeze accepted the position a year after he resigned from his previous position as the Ole Miss head coach due to a scandal concerning personal and professional misconduct.
But the deeds of Freeze’s past do not seem to have affected the university’s decision to hire him.
“[His] success has certainly been on the football field but what has really impressed us the most with him is that he’s a man of great faith, he’s a great family man and he’s somebody who really pours into his student athletes,” athletic director Ian McCaw said.
The hiring has been divisive. Several tweets and comments from students have linked Freeze’s hire to the previous controversial hiring of McCaw who was also involved in a scandal during his time at Baylor.
Liberty is beginning to build up a reputation of being quick to forgive and forget, which according to some appears to be hypocritical.
“For a school that holds its students to some pretty strict rules they don’t seem to hold the people they pay a lot of money too in the same regard,” Brian Lombardo, a broadcast journalism student at Boston University said.
However, Lombardo also admitted with all misconduct aside Freeze’s record is a good fit for what Liberty is trying to achieve.
With a 69-32 record and experience playing in championship games, Liberty’s athletics department is betting on Freeze’s experience to take them far in their second season at the division one level.
But for others, this decision makes sense from a biblical perspective.
Liberty graduate Andrew Ray said as a Christian university, it only makes sense that they should be forgiving and that they are being an excellent example of Jesus.
“In regards to Hugh Freeze this means that we show him the same grace that Christ has shown us,” Ray wrote in a Facebook post. “In fact, there are no limits to God’s grace.”
Freeze expressed his gratefulness for that good will as he addressed past mistakes at the press conference, saying his eyes are now focused on the future.
“We are all about finishing,” Freeze said, “We want to finish games well, we want to finish academics well… and we want to finish well as husbands, fathers and followers of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to get started.”