Five Reasons Hugh Freeze Won’t Take The Florida Job


With the news that Will Muschamp will not be retained next year at Florida, the coaching carousel starts spinning and even though Florida AD Jeremy Foley hasn’t tipped his hand yet, there is some indication that Ole Miss’ current head coach Hugh Freeze meets all the criteria that Foley will likely be looking for.

After four year of a pro-style defensive minded Muschamp, it is expected Florida will look for an established, successful, offensive minded head coach to take over the Gator program.

As far as football programs go, Florida is extremely attractive.  You don’t have to beg kids to play for you, you have facilities as good as any program in America, you can afford to pay assistant coaches what they are worth and the quality of life doesn’t get much better.

If a young coach is ambitious and interested in making as much money as you can for your family and future, why would Freeze NOT talk over the opportunity?  It is likely, Freeze will at least hear what Foley is willing to offer.  If nothing else, give Ole Miss Ross Bjork a chance to improve your current contract based on the offer.

However, there are at least five reasons Freeze will not take the job at Florida.

1.  SEC TV Contracts

A few years ago, if a Ole Miss coach is offered a chance to coach at a top 10 program, it is an automatic that he is packing his bags.  The salaries for the top tier SEC programs were double or more what the other schools could pay.  However, all the SEC schools are recently flush with cash, thanks to the new SEC contracts and with each year those royalties for games and advertising will only increase.

School can no longer offer to double a coaches salary, as any SEC school can afford to pay the right coach 5 million a year.

There are extensive building campaigns at Ole Miss and while they may never have a 100,000 seat stadium, the facilities will be like new and will be as nice as 90% of the rest of the country.

While the big teams have a hard time filling the stadium, Ole Miss will have a maximum crowd every game and it will seem much bigger and louder than a half filled cavern.

2.  He Has A Stable Coaching Staff

Many young head coaches also have a young staff that he pieced together from GA’s he worked with or colleagues about his same age.  This often results in an un-stable staff that are rightly looking for the next big job.  The goal is to be a head coach themselves and when the opportunity arises they leave, even encouraged to do so by the head coach.

Freeze has mature coordinators in OC Dan Werner and DC Dave Womack.  Both are in their 50s and are committed to Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss.  It is less likely they will be looking to start over with their own programs at this point in their lives, so likewise you won’t have to compete with a school offering them a head coach salary.

3.  Current Players and Recruiting Success

There is a recruiting buzz around Ole Miss that you don’t see at Alabama or LSU.  What Freeze has done in two recruiting cycles is amazing and while he would no doubt be able to match that success at a bigger school with bigger and better facilities (and palm trees and bikinis) the current buzz is about Oxford and Ole Miss.

He has turned Ole Miss into a viable school for elite high school players.  Ole Miss with Freeze, is attracting the best talent in the Nation.  There are no barriers anymore to coaching in Mississippi like their may have been in years past.

All the hard work Freeze has put in with building those recruiting pipelines would be gone and he would have to start over from scratch.

Would it seem as genuine to recruits when he tries to use the same story at another school?  He can sell Mississippi because he is from Mississippi.

4.  Winning Is Not Automatic

There is no school where winning is guaranteed.  Many coaches have worked hard for their entire career to get up that ladder, to build a program at a small school and then cash out when that top 10 program comes knocking.

Your system works when you are an underdog but when you are the hunted it doesn’t always translate like you think it will.

Big programs have big problems, like more media attention, more boosters, more self centered players, more of everything.

What works at Ole Miss may not work at Florida.

Take a look at the path Rich Rodriguez took to build up West Virginia and when the opportunity came to cash in at Michigan, he took the easy money.  His teams at West Virgina averaged 8.5 wins a year, three times winning 10 or more and he only averaged 5 wins in three seasons at Michigan.

Rodriguez fell to Arizona, a school with less pressure and he is back to winning 8 games a year.  My point is, as Muschamp found out the hard way, nothing in automatic in the SEC.

5.  Family Ties

Perhaps the biggest obstacle keeping Freeze from making a jump this year is his family.

Hugh Freeze was born 30 minutes away from Oxford, MS and his mom and dad live nearby, his kids have gotten acclimated into the school system and the Freeze’s are extremely involved in the charities and the society of North Mississippi.

He is making three plus million a year and stands to get an even bigger contract with the attention from Florida in a small town in Mississippi.  The quality of life couldn’t get any better or cheaper.  The only thing missing is a beach and I’m sure they can afford a Orange Beach condo.

The things he has in Oxford are priceless and money can’t replace the time his kids can spend with his parents or the upbringing the kids will have in an idyllic college town.

So, Florida may call on Hugh Freeze but he has the perfect job, for him, right now.