Freeze era ends with chaos and escorts

Collin Brister
Sports Writer

When you grow up in a small Mississippi town of 2,000 people, and you attend a 2A high school, you learn a few things.
One of them is that people are going to talk. Rumors are going to go around, and nothing that you do is granted any amount of privacy.
People are going to talk.
And they’re not going to quit talking.
Hugh Freeze found that out the hard way on Thursday when he resigned as the head coach of the Ole Miss football team for what athletic director Ross Bjork described as behavior that wasn’t acceptable for the head coach.
People talk, and they don’t stop talking.
Freeze won. He won immediately. He won on more than the football field. His 2013 signing class was by far the best in the school’s history. Then he topped that in 2016.
He won boosters over, frankly, because of the image that he portrayed off the field. He was a Christian man, and people in this state tend to gravitate towards that. That’s how it works.
He was a rock star in Oxford. He beat Alabama. Then he beat them again. He went into Starkville in 2015 and beat Mississippi State to advance to Ole Miss’ first Sugar Bowl since Johnny Vaught roamed the sidelines.
Ole Miss went to the Sugar Bowl after the 2015 regular season. They won that night, but since Laremy Tunsil scored a touchdown and the Rebels lifted a Sugar Bowl trophy after defeating Oklahoma State, they haven’t won anything else.
Tunsil said he was paid while at the University of Mississippi on his draft night. He had to say yeah.
The Rebels received not one, but two notices of allegations from the NCAA.
They won two SEC football games in 2016, and blew second half leads to Florida State and Alabama.
Meanwhile, rumors of Freeze’s off-the-field adventures were running rampant. Speculation grew, and if you lived or knew anyone in Oxford during his tenure, you most likely had heard something regarding his life away from the football field.
The image that Freeze marketed himself as, and the rumors that begun swirling didn’t mix, at all.
Oxford, at its core, is a small town. It’s growing at an amazing rate, but rumors go around like any other small town, and starting in the spring of 2016, they were everywhere.
I was the sports editor at the Daily Mississippian at the time. You hear things and don’t know whether or not to put stock into them. You don’t know what’s made up on a message board, and what could actually have merit. You’re a stupid kid.
As it turns out, Thursday night showed just how much merit they had.
A “less than one minute call” to a Tampa Bay escort service is what ended the Hugh Freeze experiment at Ole Miss.
Ole Miss had stuck with him through every NCAA allegation, every misguided tweet, and every single time that he took his quarterback out inside the red zone.
Thursday night, however, was it. There was no going back anymore. An investigation into Freeze’s phone records confirmed that the rumors, that had followed him since early in his tenure in Oxford, had merit.
His phone records proved, frankly, how pious and bogus he was. His phone records were his damnation, and they’re the reason he won’t coach a football game at Ole Miss ever again.
Ole Miss will move on. They’ll hire a new football coach, and they’ll win games. They’ll lose some of them as well.
On Thursday night, however, Ole Miss parted ways with Hugh Freeze and everything that comes with him.
On Thursday night, we were shown that what a person does in the dark always comes into the light.
People talk, and they don’t stop talking.