Freeze agrees to be the next coach at Auburn, sources say

Hugh Freeze has agreed to a deal to change into Auburn’s next head soccer coach, sources instructed ESPN.

An official announcement is anticipated later Monday.

Freeze has spent the previous 4 seasons at Liberty, the place he took the Flames to unprecedented heights. He’s broadly considered one among the high offensive minds in the sport. This will be Freeze’s second head-coaching stint in the SEC, with him having led Ole Miss’ program from 2012 to 2016. He beat Alabama and Nick Saban in back-to-back seasons in 2014 and 2015 and capped the 2015 season with the Rebels’ first Sugar Bowl victory since 1970.

But in the weeks main up to the begin of preseason observe in 2017, Freeze resigned after Ole Miss officers found he had made a sequence of calls to a number of numbers related to an escort service. Ole Miss was positioned on NCAA probation in 2017 for violations that occurred partially underneath Freeze, and the sanctions included a two-year bowl ban.

Freeze, whereas cited by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions for failure to monitor his assistant coaches and the college’s boosters, didn’t obtain a show-cause penalty and “promoted an environment of compliance,” in accordance to the NCAA report.

New Auburn athletic director John Cohen, who was employed Oct. 31, had narrowed his search to Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin and Freeze. Kiffin stated on Saturday that he was staying at Ole Miss and signing a brand new deal price $9 million per 12 months.

Freeze, 53, replaces Bryan Harsin, who was fired Oct. 31, two days after Auburn’s 41-27 loss to Arkansas at house. Harsin was 9-12 general in lower than two seasons at Auburn, which skilled repeated struggles on offense underneath Harsin and had issue sustaining success on the recruiting path. Former Auburn athletic director Allen Greene, who employed Harsin, negotiated a settlement with the college to go away in August. Greene was coming into the last 5 months of his contract, and sources instructed ESPN his contract was not going to be renewed after the season.

Harsin regarded as if he would possibly be out after Year 1 and survived a university-directed investigation in January after a mass exodus of gamers and assistant coaches. He was retained after then-school president Jay Gogue stated the course of “didn’t yield data that ought to change the standing of our teaching employees or soccer program.” Harsin got here to Auburn from Boise State and had by no means beforehand coached in the SEC. He completed 4-11 towards Power 5 opponents at Auburn.

Auburn owes Harsin a $15.5 million buyout, and 50% of that’s due inside 30 days of his termination.

Freeze agreed to a brand new eight-year deal at Liberty in October with a mean wage of slightly below $5 million per 12 months, making him one among the highest-paid Group of 5 coaches in the nation. Liberty soccer achieved a number of firsts on Freeze’s watch, together with the first AP nationwide rating in class historical past and the program’s first wins over an ACC and an SEC college.

Freeze turns into Auburn’s third head coach in the previous 4 years. Gus Malzahn, at present at UCF, was fired at the finish of the 2020 season. Harsin lasted elements of two seasons earlier than being fired. The Tigers final received an SEC championship in 2013, Malzahn’s first season as head coach; additionally they performed in the BCS title sport that season, shedding to Florida State.

Over the previous 12 seasons, Auburn has both received a nationwide championship (2010) or performed for a nationwide championship (2013). Only 5 different faculties in faculty soccer could make that declare throughout that span — Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Ohio State.

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