Liberty University coach Hugh Freeze has been hired as the next head football coach of Auburn University, the school announced on Monday.
The official school announcement follows reports, first by Sports Illustrated, that the Tigers would hire Freeze earlier in the day.
“After a thoughtful, thorough, and well-vetted search, we ended where we started, with Hugh Freeze,” Athletics Director John Cohen said. “Of all the candidates we considered, Hugh was the best fit. Fit has several meanings, but the most important factors were student-athlete development, football strategy, recruiting and SEC experience.”
Freeze will take over for interim head coach Cadillac Williams, who has been leading the Tigers for the past four weeks since the firing of Bryan Harsin.
Williams led Auburn to a 2-2 record during his interim term.
"First, I want to acknowledge Cadillac Williams for the incredible job he did as interim head coach. The impact he made is immeasurable and cannot be overstated,” Freeze said. “Secondly, Auburn is one of the preeminent programs in college football and I’m very appreciative of President Roberts and John Cohen for this opportunity at Auburn. I’ve been fortunate to witness first-hand how special Auburn is during my time as a head coach in the SEC and while visiting my daughter Jordan who attended Auburn and currently lives in the community. I can’t wait to work with our student-athletes and the Auburn family to bring championships back to the Plains.”
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Freeze has a career record of 83-43 at Ole Miss and Liberty including compiling a 34-15 record and three bowl appearances with Liberty. In his 12 years total of coaching at the Division 1 level, Freeze has had only one losing season, in 2016.
At Ole Miss, Freeze went 39-25, including a 10-3 season in 2015 that was highlighted by a win over Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.
Cohen is bringing Freeze back to the SEC, where he spent five seasons at Ole Miss from 2012-2016, but was ousted from the university amid NCAA and personal scandal.
On3.com reported that Freeze was in Auburn recently signing the official paperwork. The website has also reported that Williams is likely to be retained on staff.
As for talent Freeze has coached, former Auburn quarterback Malik Willis has been the most recent star.
After transferring to Liberty, Willis compiled a 17-6 record with the Flames, throwing for over 5,000 yards and adding almost 2,000 on the ground before being drafted with the 86th pick in the NFL Draft by the Titans.