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Blind Side head coach gets his dream job

Who will forget Sandra Bullock’s constant complaining to coach Burt Cotton in the Academy Award-winning film The Blind Side? The story of Michael Oher and his journey to the NFL is a moving one, and now it might be time to start a sequel. Coach Cotton in the movie is actually Coach Hugh Freeze, a Mississippi native who landed his dream job today when he was named the new head football coach at the University of Mississippi.

A 1992 Southern Mississippi graduate, Freeze landed his first coaching job at Briarcrest Christian School (the real name of Wingate Christian School from the film) that same year. He was the team’s offensive coordinator and defensive backs coach before being named head coach in 1995. Freeze won two state titles (2002 and 2004) at Briarcrest and was named Region 8-AA Coach of the Year five times and Region 8-AA Coach of the Year. Associated Press of the Year six times.

Freeze then followed his standout offensive lineman, Oher, to Mississippi where, in 2005, he became assistant athletic director for football external affairs. The next season he would become the tight ends coach and scouting coordinator, positions he held until 2007 when then-head coach Ed Orgeron was fired. In 2008, Freeze found himself coaching at NAIA Lambuth University (TN), where he went 20-5 in two seasons, including a perfect 11-0 regular season in 2009. The school went to its first playoff game in 11 years. and finished the year at 12.-1 and the sixth ranked team in the entire NAIA.

In 2010, Freeze joined the Arkansas State coaching staff as offensive coordinator and after Steve Roberts resigned at the end of the season, Freeze was named the new head coach. The Red Wolves have thrived under Freeze’s potent spread offense, but, surprisingly, they’ve also been very good on defense, ranking 15th in the country in scoring defense at 19.3 points per game.

Freeze inherits a team that didn’t win an SEC game this year, going 0-8 in conference and 2-10 overall, one of the wins against FCS (formerly Div. I-AA) of the South. Illinois. With a defense ranked near the bottom of FBS in several categories and an offense that isn’t much better, the task ahead will be mighty, but Freeze has won everywhere he’s been. He is busy assembling his staff, and his receiving coach Grant Heard and defensive line coach Chris Kiffin will reportedly follow him from Arkansas State to his new home in Ole Miss.

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