The heart of Rebel Head Coach Hugh Freeze is large and caring and exemplifies what we know as our Ole Miss Family. With nationally ranked LSU coming to town and the Rebel Nation longing for a win to get the season back on track and just to beat the Loathsome Tigers for the first time in 3 years…Coach had a mind full of tasks to perform. And while all of Hugh’s waking minutes were focused on Les, Bo, Donte, Denzel, Cody and Laquon and all the rest; there were two more Ole Miss boys on Coach’s mind. Two young Rebels. No they weren’t Ole Miss or LSU players or high school recruits or even his own children. They were two kids who’d been part of the kind of tragedy that makes football suddenly take a quiet backseat to life. To matters of the heart.
Jake and Will Lockhart’s Daddy, Carl, died in an car wreck in Oxford on October 8th. The Freezes and Lockharts are neighbors and in The South and Oxford, that means something. It means that while you’re the busiest and most anxious employee on the entire Ole Miss campus, you know what really counts in life. You know matters of the heart.
Coach Freeze invited Will and Jake to walk out with the Ole Miss players on the Walk of Champions. The Coach wanted the Lockhart kids to hang out with his Ole Miss kids for pre-game warm ups. And then, as seen by the thrill on their faces, Will and Jake Lockhart, representing their father, led the Ole Miss Rebels onto the field at Vaught-Hemingway and on to the historic last second win over the Loathsome Tigers! Coach thought it would be awesome if the boys and their mom Isabel got to hear their names chanted by the Ole Miss family..
Will and Jake will always remember their daddy and the day he died. They will tell their children about it. Its one of those sudden shocks that marks a time in a families history that never goes away. But now there are two events to remember.
One day long after Hugh Freeze has left his mark on Ole Miss and gone and the Rebels are playing LSU in Oxford, then Will and Jake Lockhart will remember one of the greatest days of their childhoods. The day they led The Rebels onto the field and onto Hugh Freeze’s first signature win. They’ll tell their grandchildren about it.