Prevail and Ride
I was going to write about Hugh Freeze today, but then I realized I'd already said most of the things I think about this kind of stuff. There's a post from a few months back specifically on the Ole Miss situation, in which the world's worst burglars decided to steal college football's biggest diamonds:
1. Brazen. Ole Miss's problem is that they made it blindingly obvious. People are dumb but they ain't stupid, and when a nobody with one year of college head coaching experience shows up in Oxford and acquires
- the #1 player in the country
- a five-star offensive tackle from Florida, and
- most egregiously, a five-star wide receiver from Chicago
it's just a matter of time before the walls cave in. Nobody in the history of Chicago has ever thought to themselves "Yes! Mississippi! Especially the bit where not having a plantation owner as a mascot is controversial!" …
2. There are only two options for Hugh Freeze. Option A, which is by far the more likely, is that he was fully aware of what was going on from the drop and is a brazen liar. The alternative is that he is so impossibly naïve and delusional that he thought his very presence was sufficient to turn around the history of Ole Miss football. The Machiavellian interpretation is kinder, but this is a guy who compared Ole Miss's struggles to Jesus's trials on the cross so it certainly could be the latter.
Point for the brazen liar theory after an FOIA request from Houston Nutt turned up a call to an escort service. Freeze tried to pass off as a misdial; his athletic director conducted a broader search and turned up a "disturbing pattern." But also points for naiveté and delusion. All theories are correct.
Freeze's most laudable trait was his stupidity. Enough guys like him mucking up the works with Wile E. Coyote plots and the amateurism edifice will collapse on itself.
A more general take on folks who are publicly confrontational about their faith or goodness or your lack thereof was written after Penn State's awful scandal ground its principals into dust:
Just lug the damn refrigerator. Stop telling everyone how great of a job you're doing of pulling the refrigerator. Maybe someone will notice, maybe not, but once you start talking about it yourself your self-regard starts chipping away at the core.
If Penn State had not been posited as a Grand Experiment, it's possible that one of the four adult-type substances who could have put Sandusky's second career to a stop a decade before it did would have had more regard for the possibility children would be raped* than for what people would think about them. It's too late for all of them, perpetrator and victims alike, now. But to me the lesson is to shut up about yourself and get on with it. It will help you not make terrible mistakes because you are trying to preserve what people think about you in the face of what you really are.
Freeze spent the entirety of his tenure tweeting out psalms about what a good refrigerator-lugger he was, the best refrigerator-lugger, really. His dissolution is the least surprising public humiliation of a smarmy doofus since Jamie Horowitz a few weeks ago. Horowitz fell prey to the iron "you're doing dirt if you invoke your kids as a shield" law merely by surrounding himself with their photos when it came time for a NYT photographer to capture his inner essence. Freeze straight up used his as a shield so he could get holier than thou about satellite camps, of all things:
"I'll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband," Freeze said when asked about vacation time. "I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. ... I think we work very hard, I don't think working hard is an issue. If you're asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot."
I immediately think "deranged sex criminal" whenever anyone does this and suggest you do the same.
Freeze schadenfreude roundup! Don't act like you're above it. Dan Wetzel:
There was never a concern for an injured party – be it Houston Nutt or all the recruits and their parents who the misdirection was designed to fool. They were the ones conned into sticking with the Rebels, led to believe everything was fine, when in truth bowl bans and sanctions that will crush competitiveness were coming. They were sold a false promise.
Freeze didn’t care about them, let alone Houston Nutt. Pumped up on hubris, he couldn’t do the simplest things – say he was sorry, tell the truth, admit his mistakes. He thought he could lie and preach his way through that one, too.
Geoff Calkins with the ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS OF DOOM:
The record shows Freeze presided over a football program that committed numerous NCAA violations.
The record shows he called at least one escort service and likely more.
The record shows he did all this on his university-issued cell phone.
The record shows he did it while tweeting daily Bible verses.
The record shows that Ole Miss will now be in the awkward position of appearing before the NCAA and defending the integrity of a program whose coach just resigned because of moral turpitude.
The record shows a rise and a fall that will be remembered in these parts for a very long time.
Was Freeze a fraud?
Let's let him answer that.
“Because of Him, you don't need to fear unrighteousness," he recently tweeted. "It’s our delusion of righteousness that we should fear.”
Meanwhile Dennis Dodd manages to go too far:
Let's start with this being the single most embarrassing moment in the history of Ole Miss athletics.
If that history started with Freeze's hire this would still be incorrect. Ole Miss announced they'd stop playing "Dixie" at games last year.