Continuing with the theme of making an impact with sports, I want to tell about someone who has been making an impact for quite some time now, but more recently in the last 14 months than ever.  That individual is Coach Hugh Freeze, head football coach at the University of Mississippi. 

Coach Freeze became the coach at Ole Miss in December of 2011, after holding coaching positions at Arkansas State, Lambuth University, and Briarcrest Christian School.  He was mostly known for being the high school coach of Michael Oher, the story theHugh-Freeze-200 movie The Blindside was created about.  In the last 14 months, the Mississippi native has gained a lot of respect and popularity and has created a buzz around his program.

Following Ole Miss’s 2010-2011 season, where they finished 2-10 and fired their head coach Houston Nutt, Ole Miss was in bad shape and were in desperate need of some help.  That is when Coach Freeze was selected to take the program over.  Many Ole Miss fans, including myself, where not too familiar with Coach Freeze and were somewhat shocked at selection.  But after his very first introduction speech, the hearts of many Rebel fans where won over and the skepticism about the hire was no existent.

Coach Freeze created an environment that was all about family.  Being a huge family man himself, this was very important to him and he passed that on to his team.  He preached that they are on a “journey out of the wilderness.”  He was realistic in his first year goals, stating “The reasonable expectation for us in year one is for us to compete passionately for this university for 60, and whatever the scoreboard says at the end of that 60 minutes we’ll have to live with.”  His for goal was to get everyone to buy into his philosophy and idea because if everyone focused on one unified goal, then they will be on their way out of the wilderness. Winning the day is what Coach Freeze preaches to his players.  Meaning if everyone plays their role each and every day and “wins the day” each and every day then the ultimate goal will be completed eventually. olemiss

The first year for Coach Freeze at Ole Miss was a successful one, although they are still not out of the wilderness yet.  They improved to a final record of 7-6, winning the Egg Bowl which is the annual game against in state rival Mississippi State, and winning the BBVA Compass Bowl over Pittsburgh.  The Rebels also successfully held the number five recruiting class in the nation this offseason, signing the number one overall recruit, Robert Nkemdiche, the number one overall wider receiver, Laquon Treadwell, and the number one overall offensive linemen, Laremy Tunsil, to highlight this stellar recruiting class put together by Coach Freeze and his staff.

Coach Freeze is an absolutely first class gentleman, who is one of the best speakers I have ever heard.  The way he carries himself and the inspiration he has on the young men who play for him and who encounter him is just tremendous.  One of my favorite speeches from him is the pregame speech before this past season’s Egg Bowl; if it does not make you want to get up out of your chair and go to battle for him then you must not have a pulse.  Coach Freeze has created a buzz and excitement that has been felt throughout the Ole Miss community and has stretched around the country. The passion and love Coach Freeze shows for his players and the community is unlike any other.   The impact Coach Freeze has had on the players of Ole Miss, the fans of Ole Miss, and the sporting world has only scratched the surface and the journey out of the wilderness is still in progress.

I suggest everyone take time this fall to watch an Ole Miss game, to see the impact Coach Freeze has, you will become an Ole Miss fan I guarantee it! Also remember to make sure that you “Win the Day!”

Hotty Toddy!!

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