Obligatory Freeze Takes

Submitted by Brian on July 21st, 2017 at 11:41 AM


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.


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.


Ron Utah

July 21st, 2017 at 1:04 PM ^

Empathy is a great quality.  And you should not feel bad about feeling a sense of pity for Freeze--in fact, I think it's admirable.

However, IMO, it's also vital to be able to recognize him as a villain, hypocrite, and liar.  It's also okay--even good--to point out that he had a negative impact on hundreds of lives, and some of those are his own family.  And it's also okay to point out the foolish and ridiculous actions and say, "You deserve the punishment you will receive."

While I don't agree with anyone saying he should die, I also don't disagree with Brian's obviously true takes and even mockery of a man's actions that are comically assinine.

What I'm saying is that it's okay to feel bad for the guy AND to point out the stupidity of his actions and recognize that he is line for some punishment.

My current least favorite thing about society is the propensity to delegitimize other people when you don't agree with them.  While Hugh Freeze is a douchebag who deserves public shaming and punishment, I can also feel pity for him and, especially, his family.  It's okay to read Brian's well-crafted (and hilarious) fisking and still count Hugh a human, even if he is a lying, cheating, idiot of a human.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:09 PM ^

"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."

It's one of these almost transhistorical truths; it's why stories about people who try to avoid their destiny end up causing it are so popular. It's why poweful people need to surround themselves with real friends and not flatterers. It's a kind of encapsulation of the whole literary tradition of great kings who fail.

Hugh Freeze should have read more Herodotus, is what I'm saying.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

Tweeting bible verses and pretending he's holier than thou when the whole world knows he's cheating. The fact that the self proclaimed family man went down for an escort call is just too sweet


July 21st, 2017 at 12:15 PM ^

Topic of the season... seems like a rare thing not to have such constant distractions and losses to the team. I love the way Harbaugh maintains the culture of Michigan men, so refreshing to not be worried about these things any more.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:19 PM ^

NCAA sanctions are looming heavy with Ole Miss between a rock and a hard place - now both Hugh Freeze and Houston Nutt have interest in seeing Ole Miss fail. With sanctions looming and when they drop, what decent coach is going to go there? What recruits are going to go there?

They're headed for the SEC basement in a hurry


July 21st, 2017 at 1:11 PM ^

I'm genuinely wondering if because he no longer has a job, or any severance money tied to keeping quiet if he decides to go full bore shotgun on everything he knows and we REALLY get to watch the whole thing burn down(and by burn down, mean get exposed, generate headlines for about a week and die off into nothingness).


July 21st, 2017 at 12:33 PM ^

Here's a story about when peak stupid on the internet was reached (I'm paraphrasing because trying to find a Twitter mention from a year ago is not worth the story, as long as I relay the gist of it):

At some point last Summer (oddly, after I was covering Virginia Tech, and when I certainly hadn't chimed in about the stupid Freeze-satellite camp imbroglio), some Ole Miss moron quote-tweeted Jim Harbaugh doing something with his kids - one must assume hanging out at Camp Michigania or something like that - and told me it was hypocritical.

I found this tweet to be time consuming and boring, yet educational. It was a little ridiculous to indulge "idiot with internet connection" with my interaction, but I continued to read on.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I asked this intrepid Ole Miss fan.

"Jim Harbaugh is a hypocrite because he is hanging out with his family when he always prioritizes satellite camps over his kids," Einstein responded.

Just sit back in awe of how stupid this man could be: Jim Harbaugh is out proving that Hugh Freeze was lying about not being able to spend time with his family being the reason he was against satellite camps (at the time, I responded something something golf course, not knowing he was out seeking Tampa's finest sex workers instead), and yet somehow in his twisted mind morphed that into a guy who was very honest about loving work - but also loving his family - being the hypocrite.

It was very strange.


July 21st, 2017 at 1:19 PM ^

While I don't particularly have a problem with the song itself(it's a part of the historical framework and there are multiple interpretations of it's meaning), A University shouldn't play a song that has it's origins in blackface minstrelry and is tightly associated with the Confederacy at official(read:any) events.

Ali G Bomaye

July 21st, 2017 at 1:21 PM ^

Well, besides being the anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War, it talks about how the singer will "take his stand in Dixie" because "old times there are not forgotten." It doesn't take a genius to read between the lines.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:47 PM ^

While I'm not particularly religious, I was raised Catholic and totally respect people who legitimately try to follow the tennets of their religion or spiritual leanings.

That said...nothing is more predictable than an overt Christian head coach (especially in the South) being unmasked as a sanctimonious POS whose very failings are the parts of his faith that he trumpets the most.  "I love my wife and kids and want to spend time with them" 100% means he's nailing 22-year-olds in the back of my Escalade behind a Waffle House before heading home.  

I assume Ole Miss is going to crater soon when NCAA sanctions come out.  That'll be fun.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:47 PM ^

I appreciate people who are public about their faith. I don't appreciate people who are hypocrites about it. "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness, but a faithful man who can find?"

I really do appreciate the desire of coaches to spend time with their family. Coaching can consume lives and that can damage families, yes. As it happens, I find Harbaugh's significant efforts to spend time with his family (up north, for example, and also note that in SF he and Sarah used to babysit so his assistants could take their wives out to dinner) heartening and encouraging.

But he doesn't gripe about it in public. He just does it. Even if Freeze was being legit (which, despite recent revelations, is possible) his bellyaching was a bad look. My job can be hard on my family, too, and unlike Hugh I don't have the spare cash to take expensive vacations or pay babysitters. Hugh walks with millions that he can use to overcome some of his time constraints.


July 21st, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

Wait, so the guy who was against satellite camps due to missing time with his family resigns from Ole Miss after being exposed for his escort service usage? GTFO!