Ole Miss

Hugh Freeze fights back tears and asks for forgiveness at first public appearance

Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze made his first public appearance since resigning from his post on Wednesday at Liberty University’s convocation.
Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze made his first public appearance since resigning from his post on Wednesday at Liberty University’s convocation. AP

For the first time since his resignation as Ole Miss’ head football coach in July, Hugh Freeze and his wife Jill made a public appearance Wednesday to speak at Liberty University’s convocation.

Freeze’s demise at Ole Miss has been well reported. In the midst of an NCAA investigation, Freeze abruptly resigned from his post with the Rebels prior to the start of the 2017 season. Details surrounding Freeze’s downfall — which Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork called a “concerning pattern” — soon emerged with an escort service’s number connected to his phone.

In front of a capacity crowd at the Virginia Christian university Freeze asked for forgiveness for his “private sin” that ultimately became public.

“I had to say to people that I love, ‘I am sorry. Please forgive.’ Today is really the first day that I can tell the faith family I am sorry. Please forgive me,” he said, pausing to compose himself as someone in the crowd shouted out they forgive him. “Thank you.”

He addressed one of his daughters, Ragan, who he said wants to stick up for her father and fight anyone who writes something she deems as unfair or untrue.

“What I’ve had to tell her is, baby, your dad did something wrong and he has to be accountable.”

Jill then addressed her family’s struggles and the painful feeling of being in a “pit of despair.”

“I can remember that moment of just screaming in my head my prayer, this very eloquent prayer, ‘God, help me.’ That was it. ‘God, help me,” she said. “Immediately it was like, are you going to focus on your hurt or are you going to focus on your healing? And I was like, I want healing. Immediately I was able to see (Hugh); his heart..”

While discussing her husband, the camera cut to a wide shot to include Hugh, who was fighting back tears.

Video of conversation was posted to Liberty’s Office of Spiritual Development Facebook page.

It was reported last week that Freeze was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to speak with Alabama coach Nick Saban. His name as appeared in plenty of rumors attached to various coaching vacancies, but Freeze remains out of coaching at the moment.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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