Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze relinquished control of his social media accounts ahead of being hired by the program and first-year athletic director John Cohen, according to Sports Illustrated.
Freeze, who has been known to be active on Twitter, has a history of questionable tweets and direct messages. There has also been backlash to Freeze's hiring mounted over his contact through Twitter with a sexual assault survivor who criticized Liberty's handling of alleged sexual assaults. Freeze, 53, has been Liberty's football coach for the past four seasons.
During his tenure, Liberty was sued over its handling allegations of sexual misconduct. Though the lawsuit is now settled, the school remains under federal investigation. One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Chelsea Andrews, posted images of Freeze's messages to her online.
In one of them, he wrote "I would love for you to help me understand your attacks on me and our program. I'm open to talk about issues you have with me/program either face to face or by phone but I've never believed in social media discussions when you don't truly know the other party. Hope you are well and have a great day."
In another, he wrote "You don't even know Ian McCaw," in reference to Liberty's athletic director. "He is the most Jesus like leader I have ever seen or been around but you take every chance you can to take a shot at him. I don't understand that mentality."
Freeze denied the report during his introductory press conference as Tigers coach on Tuesday.
"No, that's not accurate," he said. "How could you in this day and time? I think there may be some wisdom in it though."
According to a Monday night Twitter post from Andrews, Freeze messaged her three times between September 2021 and July 2022. Throughout his coaching career, Freeze has also been known to respond to critics of his coaching through direct messages.
In addition to criticisms of Freeze over his use of social media, concerns over NCAA violations from his tenure at Ole Miss andwhile at Ole Miss have made Freeze's arrival at Auburn a hiring fraught with public relations pitfalls. Freeze coached the Rebels from 2012 until he was dismissed prior to the 2017 season. He was out of college coaching for three seasons before resurfacing at Liberty for the 2017 season.
Freeze's Twitter account has been active since he was hired by Auburn, including a post thanking former Auburn coach and friend Gus Malzahn and another retweeting the official Auburn football account. He went on to say that while his account is active, he has not been the person operating it.
"Believe it or not, I haven't been on social media in the last three or four weeks," he said. "I have an account, but somebody else is running it."