How Auburn football fans tried to derail Hugh Freeze hire
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AUBURN — Auburn is hiring Hugh Freeze as its next football coach.
Reports surfaced ahead of Saturday's Iron Bowl revealing Lane Kiffin was out of contention and the next most likely candidate for the job was Freeze, according to the same reports.
But as talk of the former Ole Miss coach heated up, some members of the Auburn fan base expressed dissatisfaction with Freeze's past.
Freeze, who coached the rebels from 2012 to 2016, was forced to leave his position at Oxford after a scandal erupted involving recruiting violators and using a university phone to contact escort service numbers. After leaving Ole Miss and spending some time outside of sports, Freeze was hired by Liberty in 2018.
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He led the Flames to a 34-15 record in four seasons, including three bowl wins.
But his time at Liberty was not without controversy. Chelsea Andrews, a former student at the school, posted a screenshot of her Direct Messages to Twitter in July, which appears to show Freeze contacting her about a post she made about Liberty Athletics Director Ian McCaw. Andrews was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Liberty accusing the university of mishandling sexual assault cases.
The entire ordeal, chronicled by Inside Higher Ed, has become yet another reason some Auburn fans balked at the take. On the other hand, however, others, including former Auburn linebacker Will Herring, spoke out in favor of Freeze on Sunday.
Many Auburn fans took to social media to either denounce or support Freeze before it was officially discontinued. Many of the critics tagged Auburn's new athletics director, John Cohen, in their posts.
Here is an example of some of the reactions:
Richard Silva is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @rich_silva18.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football fans tried to derail Hugh Freeze's hiring
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