Liberty and coach Hugh Freeze have agreed to a contract extension that will run through the 2026 season, the university announced on Wednesday. The details of the extension were not specified, and as a private institution, Liberty is not required to disclose those numbers. However, ESPN's Chris Low reports that the deal is "lucrative" and "would place him among the top five highest-paid non-Power Five head coaches in college football."
In his second year with the Flames, Freeze is responsible for the team's 7-0 start and top-25 ranking. Liberty is currently on a nine-game winning streak dating back to last season.
"Coach Freeze is a wonderful blessing to Liberty and we are grateful for his outstanding leadership of our football program and mentorship of our football student-athletes," Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw said in a statement. "All aspects of the program are on the rise including on field performance, academics, recruiting and operations."
"I am thankful for the strong commitment and support from president Prevo and our leadership and look forward to continuing to build this program. Our family along with the coaching staff, support personnel and players are grateful to have the opportunity to represent this University," Freeze said.
The extension's announcement comes days after Liberty upset Virginia Tech 38-35, marking the program's biggest win in history. The Flames also beat ACC member Syracuse earlier in the season 38-21. Through seven games, Liberty is averaging 38 points per game and transfer quarterback Malik Willis is becoming a name to watch nationally.
As a result of the success, Freeze's name was beginning to come up in potential coaching searches for the 2021 season. His name was connected loosely with Southern Miss after Jay Hopson stepped down one game into the season. And though no major Power Five jobs have come open yet, Freeze's name was, and perhaps still is, expected to come up once the coaching carousel starts spinning again.
Freeze previously coached at Ole Miss from 2012-16, but resigned before the 2017 season due to personal misconduct and a cloud of future NCAA issues.