F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “There are no second acts in American lives.”
He obviously never met Hugh Freeze, who is suddenly one of the hottest commodities in college football, at least based on what turned up on my Twitter feed yesterday.
I can’t say I’m sure about all four, but Auburn, FSU and Tennessee would all appear to be players. Plus, we all remember that Saban tried to hire Freeze last year, but was blocked by Greg Sankey, who evidently hasn’t changed his stance.
Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Mike Locksley is the favorite for the head coach vacancy at Maryland. If Locksley leaves Alabama, Enos and Freeze would seem like replacement candidates Nick Saban would consider. Saban reportedly tried to hire Freeze last offseason, but SEC commissioner Greg Sankey dissuaded him.
SEC rules include language stating that an SEC school’s president or chancellor must consult with Sankey before considering hiring someone who “participated in activity that resulted, or may result, in a Level I, Level II or major infraction.” The Ole Miss recruiting scandal under Freeze’s watch would seem to qualify.
Ah, Liberty. Now that’s where it gets interesting.
This afternoon, Liberty head coach Turner Gill announced he is retiring.
“It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from coaching,” Gill said in a statement. “In the summer of 2016, my wife Gayle was diagnosed with a heart condition. Both Gayle and I wanted to be here to help Liberty through their transition and we are so glad to have done so. We have come to the realization that it is now time for me to step away. I can’t put into words how much this coaching staff, support staff and the players mean to us. We are so thankful for President Falwell, Becki Falwell and Ian McCaw and their support during our time here. They, as well as all of those mentioned, have been and will continue to be blessings in our lives. To God be the glory!”
Immediately speculation began that Hugh Freeze would be the choice to succeed Gill. Freeze has a well established connection with the University and its leadership.
In January Freeze gave his first public talk there.
So we asked the question: is Hugh actually a legitimate candidate? The response we received from a source connected to Liberty is that the school has already advanced the discussions. A source tells FootballScoop Hugh Freeze is indeed a strong candidate at Liberty.
As a private university, Liberty has the ability to move fast here.
How fast? With Art Briles’ old boss at Baylor as AD and Jerry Falwell, Jr., who’s been quite forgiving of sexual peccadilloes when it suits him as Liberty’s chief, I’d say warp speed fast.
What I don’t know is if Freeze wants to settle for a stretch as a head coach at an independent, or sees the easier path back to the big time as an OC at a P5 program. Either way, you know Sexton is on the mother. And that means there’s some hapless AD about to get rolled.