Freeze breaks silence, apologizes to Ole Miss fans
In his first extended public statement since resigning as Ole Miss' head football coach on July 20, Hugh Freeze apologized to the Rebels' fan base on Saturday, issuing a written statement to RebelGrove.com.
Freeze resigned after an internal probe into his phone records discovered a “pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent to the standards we expect from the leader of our football team,” Ole Miss chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Vitter said in July.
Freeze was 39-25 in five seasons at Ole Miss, leading the Rebels to bowl games in his first four campaigns in Oxford. Freeze led Ole Miss to consecutive New Year's Six bowl games, including a win over Oklahoma State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016.
Freeze was in Covington, Kentucky, earlier this month to defend himself against an NCAA charge of violating head coach responsibility legislation. A ruling from the NCAA's Committee on Infractions is expected in November.
Freeze's public apology is here:
While I realize a statement from me could be met with criticism and more negative attention, I believe I owe the Ole Miss family an apology for the pain and disappointment I’ve caused them. With this being an open week for the football team, and with the NCAA hearing behind us, this seemed to be the right time for me to speak from my heart.
As you know, in July of this year Ross Bjork asked me about a concerning number discovered in my phone records. In the days that followed, I shared with him the truth about my past, ultimately resulting in my resignation. It’s a truth I’d already shared with my wife, Jill, and with two of my closest friends months earlier.
While some of the things being reported about the matter are inaccurate, or in some cases completely false, it’s much more important for me to tell you that what I did was wrong, and there’s no justification for me making the selfish decisions that I knowingly made. I know I’ve hurt many people, especially those in the Ole Miss family, and I am asking you to forgive me for what I’ve done. I miss being a part of Ole Miss but will be pulling for our team every Saturday this season. To my faith family, I ask for your forgiveness and appreciate your prayers as well.
I have experienced unbelievable grace from above, from friends, and especially from Jill. Her strength and love through this storm have been incredible. Neither she nor our girls ever asked to live their lives in the public eye, but they have handled this with grace and dignity.
Words cannot express our gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, love, and forgiveness we have received from many of you. We have some incredible memories to hold onto from our time at Ole Miss, and want to thank you for blessing us over the last 5 years. While I realize there’s no good answer for the pain I’ve caused, I hope you can forgive me.