Dec 30, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze hugs the Rebels mascot after defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 25-17 at LP Field. Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Hugh Freeze is a hypocrite who only cares about Christianity when it means he can land a five star recruit.
This is the prevailing thought among a lot of Mississippi State fans about the head coach of our despised rival’s football team. They have their own nasty things to say about Mullen (Scientology?) and we have our own thoughts about Freeze. So where does this come from?
Hugh Freeze has made a sizable impression on the college football world with his ability to lead to convince 5 star prospects to come to Oxford. One of the key components in his ability to get them there is his use of “Faith Based Recruiting”. He wears his Christianity on his sleeve and it shows up in how he recruits players. He talks about the players’ spirituality and how he cares more for their soul than he does their ability to sack a quarterback. I don’t know how much the recruits like this part of the recruiting pitch, but the Moms love it. This is one of the main reasons that he does it.
This is one of the things that causes State fans to get riled up. If he were as devoted as he claims to be, then he wouldn’t talk about it on recruiting visits according to State fans. Some think it is an affront to their own Christianity that their Savior is being used as a tool to entice recruits. The fact that he used the first weekend school started back in January of 2013 as a major focal point for his recruiting efforts, a time when the campus and town would be lively, is a legitimate concern if you are trying to make the case the Freeze is a hypocrite. Why would a man of such Faith want to use a raucous party atmosphere to entice players to come to Ole Miss?
The Assistant Coaches
I am not 100% familiar with the entire coaching staff at Ole Miss, but every time one of their tweets comes across my timeline on Twitter through a retweet, I like to peruse all the things they have tweeted. Every single one I have ever seen has Bible verses or something about their love for Jesus. I am being honest when I say that I haven’t looked into every single coach on his staff to see if this is the case for all of them, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see if it were true. Many State fans argue that the reason this is the case is because Freeze wants them to buy into his recruiting philosophy. If the Head Coach is using Faith Based Recruiting, then the assistants have to do the same thing.
The Players’ Actions
If the Ole Miss players are truly being discipled to be better Christians, it doesn’t always show up in what they do on and off the field. Both the Nkemdiche brothers were suspended for the first quarter of the Music City Bowl, a lot of the Star Studded Freshman were heckling and using homosexual slurs during a theater production of The Laramie Project, and Nkemdiche was acting extremely disrespectful towards an assistant coach during the Egg Bowl. Many Mississippi State fans believe that if he was trying to reach these players for Christ, then their actions would be more Christ-like.
I think most of this is based on a dislike for a rival school than on Freeze himself. There are definitely some things that make me think he may not be as devout as he would have us believe, but who is? I don’t know the guy, but the few people I have talked to that do, they all seem to think he is legit when it come to his faith. They are all also Ole Miss fans, so you have to take their opinion with a grain of salt.
I also think a lot of this is fiction because you don’t see any other coaches lining up to take on a Faith Based Recruiting Philosophy since it seems to be working for Freeze. If he wasn’t mostly genuine about it, he wouldn’t be able to pull it off as well as he has.
The last reason I think this has become a common belief is when you are as public with your faith as Freeze is, then you leave yourself open to public scrutiny. If something happens like what happened after the Texas A&M game, then people will start throwing that at you as evidence of hypocrisy. I’m sure he knew that this part of his life would come under fire when he took a high profile coaching position. I’m also sure that if he is truly a believer, then he probably only cares what Christ thinks of him, not Mississippi State fans.