Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze resigns after call to escort service

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

OXFORD, MS (WMC) - University of Mississippi football head coach Hugh Freeze has resigned his position effective immediately.

Assistant head coach Coach Matt Luke has been named interim head coach.

A  one-minute phone call to an escort service from a university issued phone assigned to Freeze was discovered after a public records request for his phone records. University officials said the phone call, because it was less than one minute, was believed to be a misdial.

Following the discovery of the phone call to an escort service, university officials looked deeper into the phone records and behavior of Freeze.

"This is a sad day; this is an unexpected day," Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork said.

Officials said they received the public records request approximately one month ago. The phone records were turned over in response to the public records request after Freeze redacted his personal calls. But, the phone number to the escort service was not redacted.

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said a "troubling pattern of behavior" was found that was unacceptable and did not line up with the core values of the university.

"While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered," Vitter said.

Officials said when Freeze was confronted with the pattern of behavior, he was "open, transparent, and honest" and admitted to the behavior.

Bjork said Freeze will not receive a settlement or buyout from the university.

Vitter said Freeze's resignation and issues surrounding it has nothing to do with the current NCAA investigation into the program.

Freeze addressed the players and staff Thursday afternoon and discussed with them his decision to resign.

Freeze became the 37th head coach of the program in 2011. Freeze finishes his head coaching career at Ole Miss with a 69-32 record and became one of only three head coaches to defeat the University of Alabama coached by Nick Saban two consecutive years in a row.

He led the Rebels to four straight bowl appearances and a rise in the national polls, including a No. 3 ranking in 2014-2015 and finished the 2016 season with a defeat of Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

Freeze was hired at Ole Miss as an assistant athletic director for football external affairs in 2005. He moved to tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator the following year.

After being replaced in that position in 2007, he made went to Lambuth University and then to Arkansas State before returning to the Rebels.

Freeze is also known as being the head coach at Briarcrest Christian Schools in Memphis, where he coached Michael Oher and Greg Hardy. Both Oher and Hardy went to Ole Miss and Freeze followed them.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.