Former pastor on Hugh Freeze: 'He just made a mistake...that's what sin does'

OXFORD, MS (WMC) - Former Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze resigned when evidence showed he used his work-issued phone to hire sexual escorts.

The scandal hits particularly hard because of the image Freeze projected.

Freeze began his career as a coach at Briarcrest High School in Memphis. Briarcrest is a private, Christian school.

Freeze never hid his faith. In fact, he utilized it as part of his pitch to parents and student athletes. He constantly said he and his program recruited a different type of student athlete and man.

"I know this about Jesus, He shifts my past, my present, and my future and gives me victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave," Freeze said.

Freeze's personal Twitter page was always filled with Bible quotes and professions about his faith and love for God.

So the evidence that Freeze, a husband, and father, contacted an escort service hit his self-made image particularly hard.

Those close to Freeze, like former North Oxford Baptist associate pastor Johnny Flynt, said it's something they never saw coming.

"Never would've expected this from Hugh. He just made a mistake and that's just what sin does," Flynt said.

Flynt still believes in Freeze, because he says deep down Hugh is a good person.

However, fans and onlookers on social media are having a tough time believing that.

Freeze used his faith as a basis of recruiting and selling his program, and now many are calling him a phony.

When asked if he thought Hugh was a phony, Flynt stood up for his friend.

"No, I don't think he's a phony. I think he's a good football coach. I think he's a good man. I think that's what sin does to you. People get wrapped up in things and sin never wins and faith never fails and Coach Freeze just made a mistake," Flynt said.

Being a SEC football coach made Freeze a national name, especially when the Rebels started winning games under his watch.

That celebrity status is sometimes blamed for sins and transgressions, but Flynt doesn't think that's what happened here.

Flynt, who was a baseball assistant coach with the Rebels for 12 years, said Freeze's personal misconduct has nothing to do with star status from his job.

Timeline of events

November 27, 2007: Nutt hired at Ole Miss days after resigning from Arkansas amid controversy

November 7, 2011: Nutt fired after losing 12 straight SEC games

December 5, 2011: Freeze hired as Ole Miss head coach

January 2016: Ole Miss receives the first Notice of Allegations

April 2016: Laremy Tunsil social media shows him smoking marijuana. Later that night he confessed to taking money from coaches during NCAA reopens the investigation into the program.

May 2016: Ole Miss imposes sanctions against itself while responding to NCAA Notice of Allegations (NOA)

December 2016: Ole Miss fires assistant coach Barney Farrar, who was specifically named in text conversation with Tunsil as a coach who could supply the player with money

February 2017: Ole Miss receives the second NOA

June 6, 2017: Ole Miss releases its response to the NOA

July 12, 2017: Houston Nutt sues Ole Miss Athletics

July 20, 2017: Hugh Freeze resigns

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Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze resigns after call to escort service

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