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Freeze focused on Troy amid coaching rumors

Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Updated: Thursday, December 1, 2011 13:12

Freeze at practice

Ashley Helliwell/Herald

Hugh Freeze holds the record for most wins by an Arkansas State head coach in his first year with nine. The Red Wolves can claim their first outright Sun Belt championship with a win against Troy Saturday.

Following Larry Porter's dismissal from Memphis Sunday night and Houston Nutt's firing at Ole Miss three weeks ago, rumors began circulating about ASU head coach Hugh Freeze and his future at Arkansas State.

However, according to Freeze, he has no current plans to leave ASU.

Last weekend, the Internet site BleacherReport.com posted a story that said Freeze had been named the new Rebels head coach.

Freeze took to Twitter on Saturday to refute the report, tweeting, "#RedWolfNation the report on bleacherreport.com is NOT True! I am still the Red Wolves coach."

The story has since been removed from the site.

"Supposedly I've interviewed [at Ole Miss], I've interviewed at Tulane, I've interviewed at this place and that place," Freeze said at his Monday press conference. "Whether I have an interest in those jobs is for me and my wife to decide what is best for our family."

Freeze and athletic director Dean Lee released a joint press release Monday stating that any requests from schools wanting to talk to Freeze this week would not be granted.

 "It's another thing that I'm guarded that it doesn't affect us. I actually talked to our team [Sunday] night in regards to that. I told them it is a total compliment to what you guys have done," Freeze said. "I think of Southern Mississippi and Boise State and teams that have done well, that are mid-major type teams. Every time there's a job that comes open, those are the names that pop up."

While the success ASU has under Freeze is not what Boise State has accomplished during its time in the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conference, this season has been the school's best since 1986 when ASU went to the Division 1AA championship game.

 "I have not received any calls from Memphis other than from all of my friends there to let me know it was open," Freeze said. "I want to be extremely clear, that I am extremely happy at Arkansas State. They are some of the best people I've ever been around and Dr. Lee and the administration have been nothing but great to me."

In USA Today's annual report on earnings of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, it was revealed that Freeze is the lowest paid coach in FBS with $151,660 in total pay.

In relation, Porter received $754,890 to coach the Tigers and Nutt earned $2.7 million as Ole Miss' coach.

"[Arkansas State has] worked on a new package for us here for our whole staff, not just me, and I think it's a very fair package here. It's a great place to live and raise a family," Freeze said.

The Red Wolves clinching the Sun Belt title this season will trigger a pay increase of $17,500 for Freeze and he can receive another $5,000 if he is named Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

Freeze has connections to both Ole Miss and Memphis. After coaching at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis for nine years, Freeze worked at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007.

During that time, Freeze worked as the assistant athletic director for football external affairs, an assistant coach from 06-07, and as the interim head coach for a month following the firing of Ed Orgeron.

Then after coaching Lambuth University to a 20-5 record, Freeze accepted the offensive coordinator position at ASU. That was after being considered for the head-coaching job at Memphis, where Porter was chosen.

 "I can't obviously sit here and tell you what the future holds; I don't know that," Freeze said. "But I do know that we play Troy this week and that's where my focus will be."

 

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