Just days before the start of fall practice, Hugh Freeze has resigned as Ole Miss Rebels head football coach.
However, the legacy Freeze leaves is tainted with scandal, as an NCAA investigation still looms over the program.
The school confirmed Freeze's resignation in a release Thursday night. "As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern". Fallout from the NCAA investigation was the only way most people would have envisioned Freeze leaving the University, but after phone records and an internal investigation uncovered calls to an escort service, the University couldn't stand behind its coach any longer. He acknowledged that if Freeze had not resigned, the school would have "exercised the termination clause in the contract for moral turpitude". ". There will be a lot of time to search for a permanent head coach". Yahoo Sports reported the school found at least one call from Freeze to an escort service from a school-issued cell phone.
Freeze previously said it was a "misdial".
However he said, "Ole Miss is so much more than football or athletics of course that's the front door and a much loved part of the University but there's so much more". During his tenure, Freeze compiled a 39-25 mark with a winning percentage of.609, a 12-16 record vs the AP Top 25 and four bowl game appearances.
Bjork said that Freeze was "very transparent, open, honest and admitted the conduct".
University leadership has supported Freeze throughout the NCAA investigation, disputing numerous charges and denying that he had any knowledge of various accusations related to booster activity and payment of players.
Luke, who was the Sun Herald Player of the Year in 1994, and a high school teammate of his, Sam Owen, were among the walk-ons included on the 1995 list of Ole Miss football signees.
Freeze then explained shortly afterward that he probably "should have said that a little differently", but added that he'll "never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband".
"Nutt is in the process of suing Ole Miss' athletic department for lost "wages, emotional distress, and embarrassment, as well as legal fees and punitive damages".
Patterson's other son was hired by Freeze in 2015 as an assistant coach and remains on the staff.
The Orlando Sentinel'sMatt Murschel noted Ole Miss still has a hearing with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions before that situation is ultimately resolved.
Just how attractive is the Ole Miss coaching job?
Luke will serve as Ole Miss' interim coach through the 2017 season.
February 23, 2017: Ole Miss self-imposes a one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season, after the university receives a new NCAA notice of allegations that accuses the school of a lack of institutional control and Freeze of failure to monitor his coaching staff.
Ole Miss shocked the college football world when it brought in the 2013 recruiting class with cornerstone players that would work to put the Rebels back on the map.
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