June 18, 2024

Hugh Freeze declared his retirement.

The Auburn Tigers’ head coach, Hugh Freeze, recently announced his departure.

During his first three stints as head coach at Arkansas State, Ole Miss, and Liberty, Freeze called his own plays. He is regarded as one of the best playcallers in college football. However, this past season, in Freeze’s first season as Auburn’s head coach, he appointed offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery as the team’s primary playcaller. Auburn’s offensive woes continued, as they were held to 20 points or fewer in six games and ended 11th in the SEC in scoring offense (26.2 points per game).

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After just one season, Montgomery was fired, Freeze said on Friday. After eight seasons as the head coach of Tulsa, Montgomery was let go, but the Tigers finished 6-7 and had a passing offense that ranked 121st out of 130 FBS units (162.2 yards per game).

Maryland lost the TransPerfect Music City Bowl 31–13.

Although it’s more difficult than ever for a head coach in college football to call his own plays, Freeze thought it was the right decision for the program after weighing a number of choices for the offense’s offensive coordinator for the upcoming year, according to sources. Although Montgomery was the main playcaller, Freeze claimed at various points throughout the previous season that he was more active.

Following his dismissal from Ole Miss, Freeze spoke with Nick Saban about taking on the role of offensive coordinator at Alabama. However, the SEC office put pressure on Freeze to wait to be hired by any SEC school until Ole Miss had completed its NCAA probation.

Before Freeze took the Liberty position, Gus Malzahn was also considering hiring Freeze to be Auburn’s offensive coordinator.

Throughout his final two seasons at Oxford, Freeze’s Ole Miss offenses averaged over thirty-two points per contest. His Liberty offenses from 2020 and 2021 both placed in the top 25 nationally in terms of scoring.

Following his tenure as Auburn’s quality control manager in 2023 and as the head coach’s special assistant, the current plan is for Freeze to take over playcalling and promote Kent Austin to quarterbacks coach. Former Ole Miss quarterback Austin worked as the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator under Freeze at Liberty. Austin was the Cornell head coach and general manager in the CFL prior to this.

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