Liberty hires former Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze is back in college football.

Nearly a year and a half after resigning at Ole Miss, Freeze was introduced as the next head coach at Liberty on Friday afternoon. Former Liberty coach Turner Gill resigned earlier this week.

Freeze had previously been named the offensive coordinator of an Alliance of American Football team in October. He was reportedly a candidate for the vacant Tennessee offensive coordinator position.

The 49-year-old broke down in tears during his introductory news conference and said he had used his time away from football to refocus and reflect.

"I've sat out of football for the better part of two years," Freeze told reporters, "and it's given me time to reflect on the court values to which when I adhered to them followed great blessing. And it's also given me time to, when I did not adhere to them, learn about what discipline looks like."

Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

Freeze resigned at Ole Miss in July 2017 as the football program was being investigated by the NCAA and his own personal conduct had come under scrutiny. USA TODAY Sports reported that Freeze made a one-minute phone call on a university-issued phone to a female escort service, and athletic director Ross Bjork subsequently said the university had found a "troubling" pattern in his phone records.

Months after Freeze's resignation, the NCAA placed Ole Miss football on probation for three seasons and determined that Freeze had failed to monitor the program.

Liberty's athletic director, Ian McCaw, resigned at Baylor amid a sexual assault scandal involving multiple members of the football team.

The Flames are a relatively-new Football Bowl Subdivision team that competed in the Football Championship Subdivision prior to 2017. They went 6-6 this season.

In other coaching moves Friday, Geoff Collins was hired by Georgia Tech to replace the retiring Paul Johnson. Collins went 15-10 in two seasons at Temple.  

Meanwhile, Texas A&M-Commerce, which won the NCAA Div.-II national title last season, reached an agreement with former Rice coach David Bailiff, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the school had not announced the hire.

Bailiff will replace Colby Carthel, who left for Stephen F. Austin last week. Carthel went 59-18 over six seasons.

In Bailiff, A&M-Commerce brings in a coach who is well known and widely respected in the state of Texas and spent 11 seasons at Rice, taking the Owls to four bowl games.