Ole Miss fans can let out a collective sigh of relief. Hugh Freeze is staying in Oxford.
Freeze has signed a four-year extension worth $4 million per year, according to SB Nation's Steven Godfrey. The deal reportedly includes a bonus consideration for his staff between $400,000 and $600,000.
UPDATE: It's official. Both Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork have confirmed a deal is in place.
Proud that we have @CoachHughFreeze leading our program & young men for a long time to come. Agreement is in place & future is bright!— Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) December 2, 2014
Very blessed to be at THE University of Miss & work for and with great people and fans! REBELNATION, say it with me, I AM AN OLE MISS REBEL— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) December 2, 2014
Rebel fans had been fidgeting nervously as a steady stream of rumors rolled out connecting Freeze with the Florida job left vacant by Will Muschamp's impending departure. As recently as Sunday night, Godfrey reported that the Gators had offered Freeze a contract with a base salary between $4.2 and $4.3 million. Florida denied making the offer in a statement on Monday.
Assuming that Florida did make the offer, it's hard to understate the significance of Freeze turning it down. Even with the program's recent slump, there's no denying that Florida is one of the best jobs in college football. Freeze would have been recruiting in one of the most talent-rich areas of the country and would have benefited from playing in an East division that's way down at the moment. Yet he's sticking it out with the Rebels in the brutal SEC West.
That shiny new $4 million salary isn't a bad number for a guy who was making just $1.5 million two years ago. This marks the third time Ole Miss has extended Freeze, who went to $2 million after a seven-win 2012 and to $3 million after an eight-win 2013. Freeze of course earned his most recent raise with a 9-3 2014 that, depending on the outcome of the coming bowl game, could end up being the school's first 10-win season since 2003.