A common knock on Hugh Freeze by Ole Miss' detractors is that he earned his chops in high school coaching both football and women's basketball. I can guarantee that, more than once, you've heard something along the lines of "TSUN done hired a girl's basketball coach hyukhyukhyuk /clanga" over the past few seasons. And while that conveniently ignores his short but successful tenure as a college football coach - Freeze actually had D1 head coaching experience before Ole Miss hired him, which is more than can be said about several SEC head coaches - it is a criticism that I never really understood.
If you're now a college coach, what's so bad about cutting your teeth at the high school level? If anything, there are some significant positives to take a way from a coach who was able to have success coaching both boys and girls in two different sports to multiple championships.
First, succeeding in both basketball and football shows the ability to understand different strategies and gameplans. Gameplanning, practicing, and coaching the two sports probably couldn't be much farther removed from each other.
Second, and most importantly, dealing with teenagers can't be easy. Teenagers are emotional, awkward bags of hormones, and being able to keep them motivated and focused takes a skill that few folks, coaches or otherwise, can possess. One reason that it doesn't surprise me that Hugh Freeze is a great recruiter is because he was such a successful high school coach. He "gets" 16-18-year-olds and knows what makes them tick.
Third, today's high school football is an incubator of football strategies and schemes. High school coaches, such as Gus Malzhan when he was at Springdale, have more leeway and incentive to innovate to give their teams competitive edges, particularly those that don't have a clear talent advantage. It's no surprise then that some of football's best offensive minds, including Art Briles and the aforementioned Malzhan, have significant experience at the high school level.
So, yeah, Ole Miss does have a high school girls basketball coach at the helm, and I'd argue that we're better off for it.
- If you read just one article regarding Ole Miss today, make it this one which breaks down what it is that the Ole Miss defense does to be so successful.
- GQ published an excellent story on EMCC and how it, and the Mississippi Jucos in general, were able to become a bit of a farm system for SEC schools.
- Deterrian "Grandpa" Shackelford was featured recently on ESPN.com in a story that continues to make him a favorite of ours.
- Ole Miss is the best team in the country against the spread, having gone undefeated in Vegas on the season.
- An interview with D.K. Metcalf, who is chomping at the bit to suit up in a Rebel uniform.
Here's a Tweet that should get you excited:
That's 5-star defensive end Cece Jefferson, if you're curious.
And Let's Wrap up with a Hype Video: