What really happened between Hugh Freeze, Alabama and the SEC
Updated Apr 16, 2018; Posted Apr 16, 2018
Hugh Freeze is one of only three SEC coaches to beat Nick Saban multiple times during Saban's time in Tuscaloosa.
If Nick Saban had gotten what he wanted, Hugh Freeze would be in Tuscaloosa this week helping Alabama prepare for its annual A-Day spring game.
It's what the former Ole Miss coach wanted, too.
The Southeastern Conference, though, wasn't in favor of that happening.
Alabama was one of at least five SEC schools that had contact with Freeze about on-field jobs this offseason. Saban wanted to hire Freeze as a co-offensive coordinator and position coach, sources told AL.com.
However, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey encouraged Alabama not to hire a man as well known for the personal shortcomings that led to his Ole Miss resignation as he is for his success as a coach.
It's the primary reason why Saban, the highest-paid and most powerful coach in college football, couldn't add Freeze to his staff this offseason, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation who provided previously unreported details about Alabama's pursuit of the former Ole Miss head coach.
It was only a few days after Saban's mid-January meeting with Freeze that he learned he couldn't make the hire. Sankey informed both Freeze and Alabama that it would look bad for the SEC for Freeze to be back coaching in the league while Ole Miss suffered from NCAA penalties incurred under his watch. The SEC preferred that Freeze, who resigned in July following a "pattern of personal misconduct," go off the radar for at least a little while before trying to return to work at one of its schools.