“Unfortunately I’m not where I want to be today,” Hugh Freeze says in a statement that is immediately obvious to even the most uninformed viewer, “and that would be with our football team getting ready to practice, but I find myself in a hospital bed.”
Freeze, the first-year Liberty coach on a personal redemption tour after his ouster amid personal and professional scandal at Ole Miss, has been away from his team for more than a week now. The school originally told the public his absence was due to ongoing back spasms.
Freeze informed ESPN’s Chris Low on Saturday that he spent most of last week battling for his life, as the back spasms were merely a symptom of a more formidable opponent — a strand of staph infection that, had it reached his heart, could have been fatal.
As Freeze told ESPN, Liberty president Jerry Falwell, Jr., called in favors to get the coach into the University of Virginia Medical Center and flew in a specialist from Arizona to treat the infection and potentially save Freeze’s life.
Now two days removed from that report, Freeze was well enough to record the message below. He appears in good spirits and sounds like the same Hugh Freeze we all know, aside from the fact that it’s Aug. 19 and he’s clearly laying in a hospital bed.
— Liberty Football (@LibertyFootball) August 19, 2019
Freeze, obviously, plans to return to his team as soon as his health allows, though he’ll reportedly have to coach from a golf cart at first and may coach Liberty’s Aug. 31 opener against Syracuse from the press box.
That’s clearly not how Freeze envisioned his return to college football going, but it beats the heck out of the alternative.
“Be sure to have gratitude for every day that you have,” he says. “Every chance you get to do what you get to do, in the good and the bad times, you’re still getting to do what you like to do. I can’t wait to get out of this hospital, get on the grass with our team to get them prepared to play a football game, to represent a great university like Liberty.”
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.