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Auburn Saga Continues—Hugh Freeze Hiring Looks Unlikely

By on December 6th, 2018 in Football, News 23 Comments »


The latest in Auburn’s search for a new offensive coordinator has revealed just how much Gus Malzahn may have been handicapped by a new deal worked out last week to retain his position as head coach. He reportedly accepted an offer from President Steven Leath (with some board support) that included limitations on his authority to run the program.

Yesterday, we saw the beginning of what some of those limitations may include. It seems Gus wants to hire former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze to replace the departed Chip Lindsey as offensive coordinator. He’s a proven commodity that could re-energize the Tiger offense. To get Freeze, he would need to offer a two-year contract. However, the school will only allow Malzahn to offer a single-year deal.

When Auburn has a chance to hire one of the most sought after and available coaches in the country, Gus has his hands tied. Freeze is being heavily courted by several schools, including Florida State, Tennessee, Liberty and, maybe, Alabama. Someone will get his services next year, but at this point it doesn’t look like it will be Auburn. Unfortunately the situation gives  appearance of trying to make it difficult for Malzahn to succeed.

If president Leath is not willing to give Malzahn what he needs to be successful, he should not have agreed to retain him. Now that he has been retained, it’s only logical that he give Gus that support. But, nothing in this whole situation has been logical.

It’s more than mystifying why this saga continues. Why can’t Leath see how making moves that will hinder a coach from being successful hurts not only Gus but also the players, the assistant coaches, and ultimately the alumni and fans? The fallout could not only negatively affect recruiting but cause future quality coaches to think twice before considering taking a job at Auburn.

By his actions since last December, Dr Leath has proven that he was ill prepared to manage a situation involving a football program in the SEC. Nevertheless, he doesn’t need to allow the saga to continue when he has someone on staff who is supposed to be charged with stewardship of all of the athletic programs on the Plains: Athletic Director Allen Greene.

Surely with his many years in the profession Greene understands what is needed as well as the serious implications of continuing down this path. If only Dr. Leath would give him a chance to run the athletic program.


  1. PortCouncil1 PortCouncil1 says:

    So what does Allen Greene do? Why is a career academic, new to Auburn, autonomously making such decisions. If what is actually going on is half as foolish as it appears from the outside, we’ll be in deep crap… And we’re already in deep crap.

  2. WDEGirl says:

    – Do I love Auburn? Yep, degree hangs proudly on my wall

    – Do I think Gus Malzahn is a terrible Head Coach? Yep, I’ve been vocal about that here and the stats back up that statement

    However, I don’t think hiring Hugh Freeze helps AU’s football reputation and neither does hiring Kendall Briles for that matter.

    Sankey already made it clear earlier in the year that Freeze was to seek his redemption away from the SEC. And I happen to agree with that. The only sites I see on the internet saying Sankey has cleared Freeze are blogs. So until Sankey makes a statement or a reputable news source quotes Sankey, I don’t believe it.

    This site and all the other blogs out there, some from other SEC schools, touting Freeze as a legitimate hire are doing a disservice. It’s hyping and dramatizing something that probably isn’t even based in fact. And this dramatizing is what is affecting AU’s reputation and recruiting.

    • PortCouncil1 PortCouncil1 says:

      My issue is not so much missing out on
      Freeze. I tend to agree with what you said concerning that. My issue is that, if what has been reported is true, we will miss out on any desired candidate that requires more than one year in his contract. This staff is on a year to year basis. Why would a desired recruit or coach want I come be a part of that. This is nuts, man.

    • H.Howard1492 says:

      I think your right about Sankey. He’s still a big question. As I recall Tigerman said the same thing in his original post on this mess last week. And there are more than blogs that are covering this situation. Sport Illustrated and Auburn Undercover (who always seem to be proven to have the best intel) to name a couple. Its the news outlets that are driving this thing (looking att you of course they are aided by the blogs. But blogs just opine what they are hearing in the news which gives us all a chance to express our feelings like you and I are doing. and I’m with you 100% … I hate the drama too. I know its hurting our school but Dr Leath can put an end to it all by holding a press conference and saying Gus is our man and we’re going to help him all we can, OR announce he’s been dismissed and a search committee is underway for a new coach.

  3. AUFan1 AUFan1 says:

    It looks like to me they are stubornly trying to prove a point regardless what it does to the program and this could hurt the program for years to come.

  4. AUglenn says:

    So does this mean there’s no way Freeze can get the offensive coordinator job?

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Assuming Greg Sankey gives his okay (and that is still an unknown issue) Gus could still hire Freeze “If” he would pay for the second year of Freeze salary out of his own pocket.

  5. neonbets says:

    Gus has his hands tied. Gus isn’t getting the tools he needs in order to succeed. C’mon.

    Setting aside the Freeze hire for a moment, what has Auburn denied Malzahn since he’s been here? Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on salaries and recruiting junkets since he’s been here. This includes Malzahn bonuses, and high-profile, million-dollar assistants like Muschamp, and Steele. No expense has been spared.

    But Malzahn has his hands tied and isn’t getting the proper tools to succeed? Hilarious.

    With regards to Freeze–two years is a bad deal for the school. If Auburn has a great year offensively, he’s gone after a year anyway (a la Muschump). Even if the offense is average, Freeze is still probably leaving. If the offense tanks, he’ll stay and collect a fat check when he doesn’t deserve it–or– Malzahn and staff are fired are he’ll be a part of a terribly expensive buyout package.

    Getting an opportunity mend his reputation at a high-profile program like Auburn (in the wake of Freeze’s scandals) is plenty good if Freeze really wants to be here.

    • uglyjoe says:

      What he said…

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Appreciate your comments Neon. You always bring food for thought. I agree Gus has been treated well since coming to Auburn – Very well!
      My only point is if the administration wants to help the program they should give him (or whom ever the coach may be) all the support they need to succeed irrespective of what has been done for them in the past. If they are tired of doing that or have lost confidence that he can get the job done … fire him and go after someone they can have confidence in to turn it around.
      War Eagle.

      • PortCouncil1 PortCouncil1 says:

        What he said…

      • Yes, what he said.

      • uglyjoe says:

        Not quite what he said….although we still do not know any details of this alleged nebulous deal that Gus signed up to, he apparently did sign up to it, so in my twisted logic, I’m still applying the thumbscrews to him for results.

      • uglyjoe says:

        I think the biggest problem here is that none of us really know what we’re talking about, and I’ll stand at the front of that line….it’s fun to guess and speculate, but right now, the only thing I can substantiate is that Auburn signed up to a terrible deal last year and I don’t care for our coach….and oh yeah, our football team is not very good.

      • uglyjoe says:

        And by the way…I had it directly from high level athletic staff on Monday morning that Kelly Bryant was signing with us, so you see what ‘sources’ get you….

        • Not saying you don't know someone who is a "high level athletic staff" person, but … I find it interesting how many anonymous posters on web sites say they got information from some "high level" person.
          And besides kids string coaches along all the time and then surprise/switch at the last moment. Happens all the time. And it's not quite the same thing as a Phillip Marshall who has developed relationships and gets inside info after having covering Auburn sports for 50 years. Which is where most of "this alleged nebulous deal" info has come from.

          • uglyjoe says:

            No offense taken, and I don’t disagree, but when the whole Auburn football universe is upside down based on one reliable source, I don’t think we have enough information. And worse, we get crickets chirping from the administration.

    • In regards to saying that the “hands tied” quote is hilarious: ATM is not the only writer to say Malzahn is being hindered by the administration. You see that on other sites as well. Josh Moon at said the school is trying “to undercut Malzahn.” Brandon Marcello at Auburn Undercover says the powers that be have made Gus “the hamstrung coach.” Philip Marshall says that after 50 years of covering Auburn, “I don’t believe I’ve seen Auburn football on edge of the abyss more than it is today. I have to believe those who make decisions don’t understand, because the only other option would be that they don’t care.” I fail to see the humor in any of it. What I see and feel is sadness and embarrassment for my school.

  6. tigrrr tigrrr says:

    It’s chicken ____ to play with the situation as our President is doing. He is trying to chip away at the $49 million contract after the fact. He is demonstrating cowardice.

    For everyone’s sake face up to the situation and make a clear decision. I suggest get behind Gus, let him hire Freeze for 2 years, and see what happens with Freeze working with our QBs and offense.

  7. Jonathon Jonathon says:

    Bryant to Mizzou
    Freeze to Liberty
    … who’s next for Auburn to whiff on?

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