Liberty football head coach Hugh Freeze is the latest high profile college football coach to test positive for COVID-19. The news comes at the end of an impressive 9-1 season for the Flames.
Freeze elevated the program after taking over ahead of the 2019 season. Last season, the Flames went 8-5 and won the Cure Bowl.
Earlier this year, ahead of a season in which Liberty would face three ACC programs, Freeze made headlines for revealing that the program hadn’t tested players for multiple weeks due to a lack of symptoms. They would eventually start testing more often, as the ACC mandated any non-conference opponents had to follow the league’s protocols to play those games.
Now, it has been revealed that Freeze has come down with the virus, and is experiencing mild symptoms. The news comes weeks after the team’s final scheduled game against UMass on Nov. 27. The Flames were set to play Coastal Carolina last weekend, but it had to be canceled due to positive tests. Coastal played its highly publicized game against BYU instead.
— Liberty Football (@LibertyFootball) December 11, 2020
Despite the team’s 9-1 record, it is unclear if Liberty football will land a bowl invite. As an independent without the pull of Notre Dame (which has an association with the ACC), or a service academy like Army, there may not be a bowl spot given the conference tie-ins that most games have. With the number of bowl game cancellations rising, the potential spots continue to dwindle.
The former Ole Miss head coach remains a controversial figure, after his ousting from Ole Miss, and the subsequent NCAA penalties that befell the program due to infractions under Freeze’s watch. Still, he has turned Liberty into a legitimate Group of Five-level power in short order. He was heavily rumored for the South Carolina job, though it doesn’t sound like he got real consideration. The Gamecocks went on to hire Shane Beamer. Many expect he’ll be back in big time college football sooner than later.
We hope that Hugh Freeze’s case isn’t too serious, and that he recovers quickly so he can rejoin his team.