Liberty Flames head coach Hugh Freeze was so committed to attending the first game of his team’s season that despite recovering from a recent surgery, he was wheeled into a booth Saturday and did his job anyway. Liberty lost to Syracuse, 24-0.
Was Freeze’s dedication worth the result, a shutout defeat in the home opener? From my perspective, being in perfect health at a Liberty game wouldn’t have been worth it. From his perspective, he was just so grateful for God and also school president Jerry Falwell Jr.
Last month, Freeze found himself dealing with severe back pain that eventually prevented him from walking. He informed Falwell, who then called up Ben Carson—yes, that Ben Carson—who then consulted with other medical professionals to determine that the coach had a staph infection that was worsening the effects of a herniated disc. Falwell flew in a neurosurgeon to perform the surgery on August 16 in Charlottesville. Freeze said he’s lucky he’s not dead. Via ESPN:
“The doctors told me if it had been another 24 hours, that strand of bacteria could have gotten to my heart and that I would have been fighting for my life,” Freeze told ESPN. “It’s the way God works because there’s no doubt that bacteria would have killed me if President Falwell wasn’t so quick to make sure we got the right people involved.”
Although Freeze said he was in less pain this weekend, he was ordered by a doctor to not be on his feet, hence the special coaching setup. He couldn’t talk to officials or call timeouts, but he did call plays on first and second down. ESPN conducted a halftime interview with him, in the bed. Great!
Since Freeze couldn’t be on the field, he and Syracuse head coach Dino Babers exchanged thumbs-up after the final whistle. Cool!
Freeze also conducted his postgame presser via teleconference. He remained in the bed and held a soda. Nice!
This was Freeze’s first gig since he was fired from Ole Miss in 2017 for a scandal involving escorts, phone records, and what the school described as “moral turpitude.” He plans on flying to Louisiana for the Flames’ next game against the Ragin’ Cajuns, because college football is a sport for psychos.