Morgantown, West Virginia – Rumors of Hugh Freeze being the possible replacement for Neal Brown if/when he is fired as the head coach of the Mountaineers are now gaining traction.
Freeze, 52, is the current head coach at Liberty, where he has compiled a 33-12 record in his 4th season with the team. Before coaching at Liberty, Freeze was a head coach in the SEC at Ole Miss. In 2015, Freeze’s Rebels beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, finishing that season with a 10-3 record and a Sugar Bowl win. Liberty is 7-1 this season and just upset BYU, 41-14, this past weekend.
Unlike Neal Brown, Freeze is an accomplished, successful coach at the Power 5 Conference level, has won everywhere he’s ever been and would bring immediate legitimacy to the West Virginia University football program.
Now, although Neal Brown is still employed at West Virginia, the writing is on the wall that his time in Morgantown is coming to an end soon. It may not happen until the end of the season, but that certainly would not stop Shane Lyons from looking to the future.
There has been a lot of smoke that suggests that Freeze’s representatives and West Virginia University have already been in contact and that there is mutual interest. Freeze, who has a contract at Liberty that pays him more than $4 million a year through 2028, is the highest paid non-Power 5 Conference coach in the nation, but West Virginia could certainly match or better his current deal with the opportunity to coach at the highest level in college football.
Reportedly, big donors at West Virginia also want Freeze and would be willing to pay not only for a large part of Brown’s ridiculous contract buyout but help with the potential salary of Freeze, should he be hired by the university.
In addition to the rumors swirling about the mutual interest between both sides, something very interesting happened on social media recently. Mike Montoro, the Assistant Athletics Director/Football Communications Director at West Virginia University, followed Hugh Freeze on Twitter in the last couple of days. While this could just be coincidental, it certainly adds gasoline to the fire, and Montoro does not follow any other head coaches around college football other than Freeze.
Freeze is an incredibly talented head coach who is having a ton of success at Liberty, and he will be pursued by Power 5 Conference teams searching for a head coach. While it would be ideal for Shane Lyons to wait until after the season to find the team’s next head coach, he ultimately knows that he has to start that work now or he’ll miss out on an incredible head coach like Hugh Freeze.