I have kept my mouth closed for a while, but I will not tolerate this Hugh Freeze slander. I have been critical of Hugh Freeze in the past, but enough is enough. This is getting ridiculous. All this latest outrage from me started with this:
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) April 16, 2018
Now, in Greg Sankey’s defense (Sankey seems like a cool guy even though my only interaction with him is riding down the same elevator at a UGA game I was covering.) Hugh Freeze becoming an offensive coordinator (or at least a co-OC for now) under Saban at Alabama would be both unfair and inherently sinful.
Just think about Hugh Freeze coaching Tua Tagovailoa? That is a scary enough thought for God, himself, to intervene on behalf of all humanity.
But put that morbid thought aside. Could you imagine what this offensive genius could do at LSU? (Yes, LSU was rumored to be pursuing ol’ Hugh as an offensive coordinator.) He could possibly save the job of that proven loser, who somehow got the head coaching job at LSU. (Yes, I am talking about that unintelligible buffoon named Ed Orgeron.)
The fact that Sankey discouraged anyone from the SEC hiring Hugh Freeze ticks me off. Now, I will say it was cool to realize that there is someone out there with more power than Nick Saban in college football.
But please, people, let Freeze live his life.
There is a lot that people can criticize Freeze for, but his offensive coaching is not one of those things. I would put him up against any offensive mind in the country. He is a great head coach too.
If I were an athletic director in major college athletics, I would pull the trigger and hire the guy. Has he made his fair share of mistakes? Hell, yes. Freeze calling escorts is not an admirable thing to do, but that is ultimately an issue between him and his wife. A lot of guys would do the same thing if they were in that situation.
That is obviously wrong in my book, but everyone makes mistakes. I am all about giving a guy another chance. Now, clearly, the big reason an athletic director does not what to take a chance to hire Hugh is because of his NCAA troubles.
I would bet my house, though, that Freeze will be slow to pay players again or commit any violations after everything that has transpired. However, an athletic director should still take all the steps to make the environment Freeze is in one of accountability and transparency, so nothing like what happened at Ole Miss happens again.
I am not too naive to not realize that actions from your past can affect your future, but I think it is a little hypocritical in Freeze’s case. (Let me be clear. This is not a criticism of Sankey but just this whole moral high-horse hypocrisy in college football as a whole.)
What ultimately matters to employers (in most cases) is if your work good enough that it outweighs your baggage. I can list countless examples of this in all walks of life, but let’s keep it to football.
How do you think Bobby Petrino got a job again? How do you think Pete Carroll got a job again? I can go on. Let’s do a college basketball example. You think no school is going to take a chance on Rick Pitino again? Exactly, someone will because, even though he has a lot of baggage, he is a damn good coach.
Let’s also not act like Freeze’s NCAA problems of paying players is morally wrong in any way. Frankly, it makes more moral sense to actually pay the players that the NCAA and institutions are making millions off of every year. It is downright upsetting.
Also, don’t be naive that most (if not all) of the major institutions in college football are not paying players already. Now, it may be more hidden or based on boosters’ underhanded schemes, but pretty much everyone does it. Freeze just got caught.
So, I am imploring everyone to please leave Freeze alone. Everyone makes mistakes.
*Side Note: Yes, it has been quite a minute since I have written an article before now. I have done a lot of inward searching and have altered my career path. I am still not against writing online, but my interest in pursuing print journalism as a career is over. I will address this in full detail in a later post.