The decision ends a search that began with the hope of luring Lane Kiffin from Ole Miss.
The Tigers and Freeze reportedly had labor conversations for the first time on Saturday after Kiffin confirmed his intention to stay at Oxford.
The initial report sparked dismay from a segment of Auburn fans who were not thrilled with the program’s decision to pursue a coach with Freeze’s track record.
An Al.com report from Mark Heim in July 2017 detailed inappropriate moments from his time as a high school coach at Briarcrest Christian.
Per Heim, a student recalled an incident where she wore a Grateful Dead t-shirt to school that Freeze objected to.
Coach Freeze pulled me into his office and told me my shirt showed drugs. I said, ‘I’m going to go change in the bathroom,’ and when I said that, he said, ‘No, you’re going to change here so I can have the (Grateful Dead) shirt and you can’t have it He didn’t do anything sexual But I was standing in the corner and facing the wall when I did it and changed my shirt No privacy.
Per Heim, Freeze and Briarcrest Christian have denied the report.
Stories of Briarcrest Christian began circulating after Freeze resigned from Ole Miss once it was discovered he had used a school-administered cell phone to call an escort service.
Freeze blamed the one-minute phone call on a dialing error. (h/t CBS Sports)
According to USA Today, “records do not show Freeze immediately redialing a different or similar number.”
Ole Miss’ athletic director at the time, Ross Bjork, told reporters after Freeze’s resignation: “We proactively reviewed the remainder of his phone records and found a disturbing trend.”
The soap opera began when Freeze attempted to deflect NCAA offenses against Ole Miss as issues that arose during former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt’s tenure. (h/t SB Nation)
It was a lie, and it snowballed into Freeze’s downfall. Until he gets up.
Freeze was hired in December 2018 as head coach of the Liberty Flames where he has spent the past four seasons.
His ability to coach a football team has never been questioned. Freeze is 83-43 in ten seasons. Of course, Auburn won’t be happy with an 8-4 average record, and the team will be hoping their vast NIL resources — along with Freeze’s on-court leadership — will lift the Tigers out of the shadow of the Premier League. Alabama.
Freeze won back-to-back seasons against Nick Saban and Alabama as coach of Ole Miss.
As the SEC’s fiercest rivalry, that success likely weighed on Auburn’s decision-makers. More than anything.