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New Ole Miss Football Coach Gets Hero’s Welcome And Salary

By Sandra Knispel | Published 06 Dec 2011 10:18am | comments
New Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze takes the stage at the University of Mississippi's Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Monday.

The University of Mississippi’s new football coach is inheriting a host of problems. But he also just got something like a 650 percent salary increase compared to his last job at Arkansas State. MPB’s Sandra Knispel reports from Oxford.

Ladies and gentleman please welcome the new had coach at Ole Miss, coach Hugh Freeze! [applause, cheers]

Hugh Freeze, who garnered five standing ovations yesterday afternoon during his introduction at the Ford Center, is not a new face on campus. He was already an assistant coach from 2005 to 2007 under then-coach Orgeron. For the 41-year old returning to Ole Miss is a dream-come-true.

"This is a destination place for me. It is not a stop along the path. It is where I want to live, it’s where I want to be. It’s where I want to retire. This is home to me,” Freeze told fans, family and media at his introduction on Monday.

That despite a host of problems, foremost a dispirited team that set a new losing record for the school, discipline and recruiting trouble, coupled with serious fan unrest.

 “First thing that we need to get right is that we play with passion and effort for 60 minutes and then we look up at and see where the clock is," Freeze sais. "That is where we have to start to get out of the wilderness.”

But don’t feel sorry for the new coach quite yet. He just got a whopping base salary increase from roughly 200,000 dollars at Arkansas State to around 1.5 million dollars here, as Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones explains:

“We crafted what we think is a market-based, competitive salary. It’s an arrangement that is heavily performance based. There is a lot of opportunity for compensation well in excess of $ 2.5 million if he meets a lot of performance metrics.” (16 sec.)

Freeze’s salary without incentives amounts to the combined salary of 19 tenured UM history professors, including their department chair. Meanwhile the UM Foundation will be busy over the next five years paying off recently fired coach Houston Nutt. He’ll get six million dollars for not coaching the Ole Miss Rebels.

Sandra Knispel, MPB News, Oxford.

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New Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze takes the stage at the University of Mississippi's Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Monday.


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