Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze has resigned effective immediately. The resignation comes after school officials reviewed Freeze’s phone records and found there were outgoing calls to an escort service.
Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter says Freeze exhibited “a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards we expect from the leader of our football team”. He added that this issue is unrelated to another ongoing NCAA investigation.
Freeze made the phone calls from a university-provided cellphone and include at least one call made to a number associated with a female escort service. Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork says Freeze was transparent and honest when discussing the conduct under question with he and chancellor Vitter.
Bjork stated that everyone needs to be accountable and says the university had to work with what was in front of them. He added that nobody’s perfect and the university took the emotion out of the decision.
Assistant head coach Matt Luke will serve as interim head coach for the Rebels. He was in his sixth season as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
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
Bjork says he hasn’t even thought about a head coaching search. Instead, he says the focus right now is on the team with practice beginning in less than two weeks. During his time with the Rebels, Freeze had a 39-25 record and was 3-1 in bowl games including a 2015 Sugar Bowl victory. The list of potential replacements for Freeze contains some big names.
Among them are former LSU head coach Les Miles and new FAU head coach Lane Kiffin. Memphis head coach Mike Norvell and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables are some other, less notable, names being mentioned.
Ole Miss opens up their 2017 season against South Alabama on Sep. 2.