Glenn, Manning had a stake in the Freeze hire and have admired his success

I had good conversations with Archie Manning and Mike Glenn last week that led to today’s Hugh Freeze profile in the Mother Ship.

They were co-chairs of the search committee that recommended Freeze’s hiring to former chancellor Dan Jones.

They’ve admired the work Freeze has done at Ole Miss especially since they had to defend their decision when Freeze was announced.

The tone of the email they received in the days that followed was more curious than angry. They were asked to explain their choice. There were no personal attacks against Freeze, but there was quite a bit of concern over his short body of work as a college coach at both the assistant and head coach levels.

Manning, the former Ole Miss star, wanted to make sure whoever was hired went beyond being a good coach.

For all that Manning had been and continues to be involved in college football, the Freeze search was the first time Manning has participated in a hiring process.

There were lots of names thrown out then, one of them Mike Leach, the former Texas Tech coach who was successful with a wide-open offense in Lubbock and has now turned the corner in the Pacific Northwest.

“That was the first time for me to ever do that. My theory was, ‘He’s got to be a good fit.’ It couldn’t be a guy who was just a good coach and had got it done at Washington State. He had to be a good fit, not necessarily geographically but with just everything.”

Freeze’s Mississippi background alone – a native of Senatobia – wasn’t the determining factor.

“We thought he was a good fit, a good coach and a good person.”

Freeze is facing a complex decision now of what to do with Robert Nkemdiche. Nkemidche’s apology and statement issued Tuesday by Ole Miss media relations turned into a plea to play in the Sugar Bowl at the end.

The investigation by Atlanta police is not closed. Freeze has said he’ll gather all the facts before making a decision.

Glenn thought Freeze had all the right answers in the interview process, particularly when it came to Archie’s question about how Freeze would scheme for Alabama.

Glenn and Manning were also a part of the committee that helped hire Ross Bjork as AD. Glenn says he’s just as proud of that hire and that the long-sought stability that Ole Miss currently has in its head football coach position is due in large part to the relationship between Bjork and Freeze. Glenn says he’s as proud of the Bjork hire as he is the Freeze one.

“I’m proud of Hugh and his staff. I would be remiss if I did not say that a key part of Hugh’s success is Ross Bjork. Ross and Hugh are a phenomenal team. I’m not surprised by that. If anything, I’m surprised that it happened this quickly. If you’d have told me we’d be (in the Sugar Bowl) a year or two from now that would be more in line with my expectations. The state of the program when Hugh took over had a lot of issues,” Glenn said.



Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Lee814

    Great article in the journal this morning Parrish. Back before Freeze was hired, I commented on here that he would be my preference over the names being mentioned then (primarily Smart and Malzahn). My thoughts included the fact that he had success everywhere he had been, but also his character would serve OM well. He has shown himself to be a better recruiter and coach than Malzahn. There is no doubt that Freeze has proven to be an excellent choice! The big proof in that is that you never hear other teams fans referring to him as the high school girls BB coach any more.

    • JB

      SO Sorry to disagree with you, but Freeze could still be a fairly good high school girl basketball coach, should he be surrounded with other good coaches and assistants.

      • Lee814

        I agree. Freeze would probably be successful in most any coaching endeavor. But I was mainly referring to those who were making fun of Ole Miss for hiring a high school girls coach. You don’t hear them saying that anymore.

        • JB

          Freeze is surrounded himself with good assistant coaches, and one of the most talented football in many years at Old Mississippi and he should be a winner.

  • Cal Bell

    Now that Georgia suspended their big guy for possession of pot, it’s put Freeze in a corner. To avoid a PR disaster, freeze must NOT allow Kemdichi to even B in New Orleans.

    • ripleyreb

      Big difference Cow Bell. That was the 2nd offence for the Georgia player this year.

    • Concerned

      We’ll be sure to pass along your recommendation to him. He’s busy polishing that golden egg right now…

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