Hartselle High football coach Bryan Moore believes Auburn University made the right choice in hiring Hugh Freeze as its next head football coach.
The Tigers officially announced the hiring on Monday night.
“I went to Auburn. I guess you could say I’m an Auburn guy,” Moore said. “I think it’s a great attitude. He sees high school football as a guy with roots at our level. I think he’ll do a great job building relationships with high school coaches in Alabama. He’s already done quite a bit on the road from his time at Ole Miss.
“He’s also a great offensive head. He’s had success with all types of quarterbacks – Dual Threat, Pocket Guys, RPO Guys. Everyone did well under him. I find it exciting.”
TIED TOGETHER: Quote from Auburn AD, President of Freeze
TIED TOGETHER: Hugh Freeze contract details
Several high school coaches shared their thoughts on Freeze’s hiring with AL.com Monday afternoon. Many believe a major flaw in Bryan Harsin’s short tenure at Auburn was his relationship — or lack thereof — with popular high school coaches in his home state.
“I think it’s imperative for him (Freeze) to develop good relationships with the high school coaches in Alabama sooner or later,” said Pell City coach Steve Mask. “I look forward to getting to know him. Everywhere he went he had a lot of success. He obviously has a background in the SEC and in the South, and that’s a huge plus. I think he deserves the right to come in and make a mark.”
Hillcrest Tuscaloosa coach Jamie Mitchell has known Freeze longer than most due to their Mississippi roots.
“Obviously he’s proven what he can do at the SEC,” Mitchell said, referring to Freeze’s tenure at Ole Miss. “What he stands for and what he proclaims seems to have gotten him into some trouble, but he’s done a great job at Liberty and is a thought leader on offense.”
Freeze resigned from Ole Miss in 2017 amid a scandal and was absent from coaching for two years before taking over at Liberty. Earlier this year, questions about Freeze’s character were raised again after a former Liberty student, Chelsea Andrews, posted a screenshot of an unsolicited direct message Freeze had sent to her defending Liberty athletics director, Ian McCaw, calling him “the most Jesus-like leader.” “ Denoted he has been there.
However, the state’s high school coaches seem more than willing to give him a chance in Alabama.
“I wanted him from the start,” said Theodore coach Eric Collier. “I know he made some mistakes, but we all made them. We’re talking about forgiveness. We should forgive. He has proven himself with the SEC. I think it’s a good rental. I think he’ll be able to recruit the Southeast and he’s proven he can win in the SEC. That’s huge.”
Mitchell said Freeze’s offenses are based on diversity.
“I think schematically, he’s as good offensively as you can find and he’s proven he can recruit top-level kids,” he said. “I think you would struggle to find a better coach.”
Moore believes Freeze will understand the need to build relationships with high school coaches. There is something else that he likes about the job.
“Having watched the search all along, it seems to me that Coach Freeze wanted to be in Auburn, and I think that goes a long way,” he said. “I think this is a long-term deal and one that can be very good for Auburn.”
Terry Curtis, the AHSAA’s all-time winning coach with 348 wins and an Auburn grad, is new to Freeze.
“I don’t know what to think yet,” he said. “Some people are positive. Some are negative. There are pros and cons. I don’t know him well enough to give an informed opinion. But all the key will be whether or not he can recruit with the baggage he has, whether it’s true or not. He has to win people over. The key is in the recruitment and what coaches he will bring with him.”