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Former Liberty Football Coach Hugh Freeze Says Faith Will Be Essential in Coaching Auburn

Photo from Auburn Football’s Instagram

Former Liberty Football Coach Hugh Freeze Says Faith Will Be Essential in Coaching Auburn

By Movieguide® Staff

Auburn University recently hired Former Liberty football coach, Hugh Freeze, who led his team to four consecutive winning seasons from 2019-2022.

“Every job I’ve ever taken over has had some type of struggles prior to our arrival and we’ve been able to turn them fairly quick,” Freeze said. “I look forward to that challenge here with this great staff that we’re going to put together and these young men that are gonna buy in. But they have to buy in to chase a standard and you have to set the standard.”

Freeze is vocal about his Christian faith and championed his family as a priority.

“We are a family of faith,” he said. “And God’s faithfulness is so incredibly good to us, and I don’t know that I can put it in enough words of how gracious and good and faithful He has been to us.”

Freeze shares three daughters with his wife Jill, Ragan, Jordan and Madison.

Faith will be a central to his coaching style at Auburn as well, the 53-year-old said.

“I don’t mean faith in the spiritual sense like ‘you believe like I believe.’ I don’t force that on anybody. It is who I am, and I’m far from perfect but it’s who I am,” he explained. “But faith in the essence of ‘you have to believe in something bigger than yourself to be a great football team, to be a great university or to be a great family.’”

After filling Auburn’s head coaching vacancy, he decided to make their interim coach, Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams, his associate head coach and running backs coach.

“What I witnessed (in Auburn’s final games) was what I thought was one of the most outstanding jobs of leadership that I’ve ever witnessed in college football,” Freeze said. “Being in this profession, I know how hard it is to finish seasons even when you’re doing well, even when you’re bowl eligible, much less finishing a season with enthusiasm and passion and desire and excitement and having fun like what I witnessed when I turned on the Auburn football games.

“And to me, it was a direct reflection of Cadillac and his leadership, and how he led the staff and those young men, [which] I thought was a brilliant job,” he added.

Williams shares Freezes emphasis on faith.

“First of all, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His hand being on my life and guiding me to this university and the Auburn family,” Williams wrote of his new position on the team. “Last night, I was able to meet with Coach Freeze where he shared his core values and vision for the football program and young men he will be coaching. He is a man of faith and we share many of the same values when it comes to coaching. I am excited about his vision and plan for getting Auburn back to its winning ways, including winning championships!”

“Sure, I was a little disappointed at first about not getting to sit in this seat as head coach, but it’s God’s timing,” Williams added. “I get to learn more and continue to develop under Coach Freeze. I love his vision.”

Auburn’s hiring of Freeze met some backlash due to previous accusations of impropriety while at Liberty.

Sports Spectrum reported:

Many were critical of Freeze’s hiring at Auburn due to his history of impropriety, including this past summer when he was criticized for direct messaging a former Liberty student who was one of several students that sued the school in 2021 for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and Title IX matters. Freeze was defending Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw.

“I learned from this situation that I should totally understand other people’s circumstances first before communicating or commenting on someone’s situation,” he told ESPN. “It was an inadvertent misstep with no ill intent, and I am sorry.”

Freeze said he has repented, cherished the forgiveness Christ offers and sought refuge from the criticism in Him. He addressed Liberty students and staff in 2018, his first public appearance following his Ole Miss resignation, to express his regret but also to share about Christ’s great forgiveness.

“When my walls came crumbling down around me, the faith that I stand on through the Son of God, Jesus Christ — it is a solid rock. A solid foundation,” Freeze said. “And when all hell is breaking loose around you and everybody has their opinion about what is going on, and you know that you’ve hurt the heart of God, His love never changes. Ever.”

Freeze continued, “My mind is set. It is settled. My eyes are clear. My heart is full. My feet are pointed forward. And I am looking forward, with thanksgiving, to what God has for me and my family next, because of His great love, and His great forgiveness.”