Hugh Freeze issues apology for hurting 'Ole Miss family,' making 'selfish decisions'

Hugh Freeze resigned as Ole Miss head coach on July 20. (Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle via AP, File)

Hugh Freeze has broken his silence.

In a statement published Saturday morning on RebelGrove.com, Freeze, who resigned as Ole Miss’ head coach in July after a call to an escort service from his university-issued phone was discovered and subsequently revealed a “pattern of personal misconduct,” apologized for hurting “the Ole Miss family” and making “selfish decisions.”

Freeze’s statement came after he appeared and defended himself at Ole Miss’ NCAA Committee on Infractions hearing earlier this month. Ole Miss is facing 21 NCAA violations, many of which occurred under Freeze’s watch. The school accepted many of the violations and self-imposed sanctions, but is fighting others, including lack of institutional control and that Freeze violated the NCAA’s head coach responsibility legislation.

Below is Freeze’s statement, in full, via RebelGrove.com:

While I realize a statement from me could be met with criticism and more negative attention, I believe I owe the Ole Miss family an apology for the pain and disappointment I’ve caused them. With this being an open week for the football team, and with the NCAA hearing behind us, this seemed to be the right time for me to speak from my heart.

As you know, in July of this year Ross Bjork asked me about a concerning number discovered in my phone records. In the days that followed, I shared with him the truth about my past, ultimately resulting in my resignation. It’s a truth I’d already shared with my wife, Jill, and with two of my closest friends months earlier.

While some of the things being reported about the matter are inaccurate, or in some cases completely false, it’s much more important for me to tell you that what I did was wrong, and there’s no justification for me making the selfish decisions that I knowingly made. I know I’ve hurt many people, especially those in the Ole Miss family, and I am asking you to forgive me for what I’ve done. I miss being a part of Ole Miss but will be pulling for our team every Saturday this season. To my faith family, I ask for your forgiveness and appreciate your prayers as well.

I have experienced unbelievable grace from above, from friends, and especially from Jill. Her strength and love through this storm have been incredible. Neither she nor our girls ever asked to live their lives in the public eye, but they have handled this with grace and dignity.

Words cannot express our gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, love, and forgiveness we have received from many of you. We have some incredible memories to hold onto from our time at Ole Miss, and want to thank you for blessing us over the last 5 years. While I realize there’s no good answer for the pain I’ve caused, I hope you can forgive me.

Sincerely,

Hugh Freeze

Freeze had a 39-25 record in his five seasons at Ole Miss and led the team to four bowl appearances, including a Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State. With Freeze out of the picture, assistant Matt Luke was named interim head coach. Through four weeks, the Rebels are 2-1 with wins over South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin and a road loss to Cal.

The Rebels had a bye over the weekend and begin their SEC slate at No. 1 Alabama on Saturday.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!


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