Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze fired after phone calls to escort service uncovered

Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze fired after phone calls to escort service uncovered
Posted at 8:03 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 23:03:07-04

Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday after university officials found a "pattern of personal misconduct" that they found unacceptable.

Freeze's resignation brings a stunning end to a five-year tenure that saw a Sugar Bowl victory, but also a wide-ranging investigation into rules violations. His ultimate downfall came after school officials investigated Freeze's phone records and found misconduct.

"In our analysis, we discovered a pattern of conduct that is not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program," athletic director Ross Bjork said. "As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern."

According to ESPN, school officials "found a pattern that included phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service."

"Once we looked at the rest of the phone records we found a pattern. It was troubling," Bjork told ESPN.

Bjork said the school's investigation started last week after a Freedom of Information request revealed a concerning phone call that lasted less than a minute. The school then looked into the rest of his phone records and found more problems.

Bjork said Freeze "admitted the conduct" and that the coach offered his resignation Thursday afternoon. When pressed to explain Freeze's conduct, Bjork said the school needed to "protect that information."

"His privacy is important," Bjork said. "The conduct was just not something we could continue with as our head coach."

Co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke has been named the interim coach.

"This is a sad day for the University of Mississippi," Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.