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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas State head football coach Hugh Freeze watches his team warm-up before playing the UCA Bears in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves won 53-24. Special to the Democrat Gazette/JIMMY JONES

— Ole Miss has hired Arkansas State University head football coach Hugh Freeze to lead its program, the university said on its website.

A formal announcement is slated for 2 p.m. at Ole Miss, but the school confirmed online that Freeze was the pick to be its 37th head football coach.

Search co-char Archie Manning, a former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback, made the announcement in a video, calling Freeze "a man of high character and integrity."

"The committee was immediately wowed by his plan, his energy, his track record of recruiting and his proven ability to win and win the right way," Manning said in the video. "I am so excited to announce that Hugh Freeze is the next football coach of the Ole Miss Rebels."

In posts to his Twitter account Monday morning, Freeze described his time at ASU as an "incredible ride," but added the Ole Miss job was an opportunity he couldn't turn down.

"To the players at Arkansas State. I LOVE EACH and EVERYONE of you," Freeze wrote in one Tweet. "I'm sorry, i truly am. I hope that in time you will forgive me."

Freeze worked on the Ole Miss staff from 2005 to 2007, spending two seasons as an assistant coach, before becoming head coach at Lambuth University for two seasons. He spent one year as ASU's offensive coordinator before being promoted to its head coach before this season. He led the Red Wolves to a 10-2 record and a Sun Belt conference title, earning a bid to the GoDaddy.com bowl next month.

Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was fired in November.

Manning said the search committee looked at former and active college coaches, top assistants and professional coaches.

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Comments

  • HawgFan
    December 5, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.

    I just wonder if Ole Miss will be patient enough for Freeze to get his own players in there, and not expect him to win with the group that was 'recruited' by Hootie and his staff.

  • loswalt
    December 5, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.

    this time maybe they got it right

  • johnnyfrog
    December 5, 2011 at 9:28 a.m.

    I am so sorry to see Freeze go, but can not blame him. Seems that ASU can not keep a good coach. Ray Perkins coach for a year, then left. I would love to see Arkansas with two or more programs that are big time. Hogs need some one to compete as the leading school

  • Jfish
    December 5, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.

    johnnyfrog, Ray Perkins was a has-been by the time he arrived at ASU. Also, today's college athletics is all about the money and UA is the land grant institution. Remember, Miss. State had a pretty good recruit by the name of Cam Newton and then the Auburn boosters paid his daddy to come there. The way conferences and bowls are set up right now, the rich get richer and the mid-majors like ASU have to settle for the leftovers. And please Hugh, nobody blames you for leaving, but just admit it is about the money.

  • TheBatt
    December 5, 2011 at 10:14 a.m.

    But didn't ASU state that they had NOT given anyone permission to talk to Freeze, and in a joint statement with Freeze, say that getting through the bowl game was going to come first?

    While I don't think anyone could blame Freeze, the double-talk and misleading statements (lies?) don't reflect integrity in my book.

  • HawgFan
    December 5, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.

    There is very little integrity when it comes to coaches. Although, I would say that the media, more often than not, put the coaches in almost impossible situations when they are asked to comment on job openings where their name has been linked. It's a pretty bad career move to let your current employer know that you are thinking of leaving until it's really a done deal. Coaches get asked over and over and have to deny it until the deal is done, then they seem like they were lying. It's a tough spot to be in, as a coach.

  • Ran2133
    December 5, 2011 at 11:45 a.m.

    I agree with 'TheBatt.' In college football integrity is almost non-existant these days. I don't blame Freeze for taking advantage of the opportunity, I just wish he and ASU would have been honest about the fact he was talking with Ole Miss via his agent. The ASU athletic director was not forthcoming when it is obvious he gave Ole Miss permission to talk with Freeze's agent. I was not real fond of Arkansas State for non-athletic reasons before this; now I have much less respect for the institution.

  • OldRazorback1
    December 5, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.

    A coaching change between two irrelevant, wannabe, low budget, second rate schools. So.....who cares?

  • howboutthemhogs
    December 5, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.

    Hugh Freeze: "Well, let's see. $200,000 or $1.5 million? I'm hot right now, but I may suck next year and not get another million dollar opportunity. What should I do?" That's a no-brainer if ever there was one.

  • Jfish
    December 5, 2011 at 12:26 p.m.

    Batt is right. Ran, what was ASU not forthright about? They made him an offer last week and I am sure they knew he was likely going to talk to OM and Memphis. Also, I am sure Freeze was not exactly upfront with ASU about his interest, apparently someone very close to him sent a text to Archie Manning last week because he did not have permission at the time to talk to him. OldArkFan, sorry to see you have a burr up your butt about being left out of the BCS and basically being irrelevant again in the SEC, don't worry, in a few years maybe LSU, Alabama and Florida will all have off years and y'all can claim the conference championship. Hawgfan, I agree, coaches are in a tough spot, but all they have to say is I am exploring all possibilities and I will let you know in a few days what I have decided. And then after you make the announcement, don't lie about your intentions, you could say it is a bigger conference and alot more money and I do not want to pass up this opportunity.

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