By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has joined the $2 million club.
Athletics director Ross Bjork said shortly after the Rebels’ 41-24 win over rival Mississippi State that he was working to restructure the contract of the first-year coach.
The school announced Thursday afternoon that Freeze’s contract would be extended through 2016, the maximum allowed by state law, and his annual salary will increase from $1.5 million to $2 million.
In addition, the salary pool with which Freeze pays his assistant coaches will increase by 10 percent.
Freeze and his staff received more than money in the announcement. They’ll get new offices too as part of a $12.5-million expansion and renovation of the indoor practice facility.
Work is expected to begin in early 2013 and be completed later that year or in early 2014.
“We all believe that Coach Freeze is the perfect fit for Ole Miss, and we are just beginning to see the fruits of everyone’s hard work,” Bjork said in the release. “The facility enhancements are all about giving our coaches a greater platform to recruit from and our student-athletes the best tools to be successful. While we are proud of our current facilities, we cannot simply maintain or we fall behind. These enhancements will benefit our entire athletics program and place our football facilities among the finest in the nation.”
The football program’s indoor practice facility opened in 2004.
Other IPF enhancements will include a new team meeting room to be constructed in the current open space between the north end of the building and the south end zone of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
A full kitchen and dining hall will be built and a full-time nutritionist hired. The dining hall will be open to all Ole Miss students, faculty and staff.
Also, the existing weight room will be expanded.
Freeze thanks Bjork for his support.
“While we are proud of our accomplishments this season, we have yet to reach our goal of returning championships to the University of Mississippi. This investment – particularly the facility improvements – are a major step in providing our players the best student-athlete experience and creating an environment that will attract the nation’s top recruits,” he said.