The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor who interviews Oxford’s leading personalities. Steve recently had the pleasure to interview the “first lady of Ole Miss football,” Jill Freeze.
Steve said, “I must admit this was the most ‘fun’ interview I have had to date. Jill has an incredible personality, which is contagious. It’s very easy to understand why Coach Freeze is so successful with a support base of this magnitude.” Here we go …
HT.com…Did you ever think that this level of success would be achieved so quickly?
Jill Freeze…”I did! Hugh has done this at every level. I had every confidence that he would do it again. Hugh performs to an audience of one (his Lord) and this is the reason for our success.”
HT.com…Prior to arriving in Oxford, did you realize how intense the rivalry was with MSU?
Jill Freeze…”Being a native of Mississippi (Louisville), I grew up appreciating this rivalry. In the eyes of many people, this one game defines the season as making or breaking it. There is definitely additional stress for me the week of this game.”
HT.com…What does your family enjoy the most about Oxford?
Jill Freeze…”We absolutely love this community. This is the most hospitable of communities that you will ever find. There is so much support here! This is truly a magical place. Helping your neighbor and caring about each other is what Oxford is all about. I grew up in a similar community to Oxford.”
HT.com…If you could make just one request of our fan base entering the 2014 season, what would that be?
Jill Freeze…”Our players and coaches are working very hard. No one is trying to lose. Mistakes are going to be made. We need to give the team a chance and to be tolerant.”
HT.com…You and Coach Freeze have reached “celebrity status” after just two seasons. People gravitate to you and enjoy your company immensely. Did you anticipate this?
Jill Freeze…”No. This has been the biggest surprise to me. We attempt to do the best we can by being kind and helpful to everyone.”
HT.com….What is game day like for you?
Jill Freeze…”It is awesome! It is very busy. Usually, I do not get nervous until right before kickoff. The girls and I make sure we see Hugh before and immediately after every game. At home games, we typically have five to six tents for the coaches’ families to tailgate together. I get more relaxed after we score the first touchdown.”
HT.com…After a tough loss or a big victory, how do you place the outcome of the game in its proper perspective?
Jill Freeze…”I am more focused on the players and coaches, opposed to the wins and losses. Injuries and the morale of the team are the most important things that affect me. After a loss, I ‘hurt’ for them.”
HT.com…What are your hobbies and interests outside of college football?
Jill Freeze…”Our kids. I enjoy playing golf.”
HT.com…Can you tell our readers a ‘fun fact’ about you?
Jill Freeze…”I truly enjoy crafts. There are painting classes that I participate in periodically, which I like very much. I also enjoy scrap booking and designing my game day fedoras.”
HT.com….Do you spend a great deal of time on the Internet?
Jill Freeze….”I am not a social media person.”
HT.com….From the fan perspective, the stability of this coaching staff has been refreshing.
Jill Freeze…”We have a great staff and along with their wives, everyone is committed to to making the program better. We pray for each other every week. There are no ‘attitudes’ on this staff. The group of women behind the scenes is phenomenal.”
HT.com…What is the most difficult thing about being the wife of the Head Coach?
Jill Freeze…”The hardest thing is the criticism.”
(Footnote…It’s difficult to understand criticism especially after winning two bowl games coming off an 0-8 SEC worksheet. I recalled to Jill what the first President Bush said when asked about this same subject. The President said “if 60 percent of the people agree with you, it’s a landslide.”)
Steve Vassallo is HottyToddy.com’s newest contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie.