Saturday, March 25, 2023

Thanks Coach Freeze for the Birthday Gift!


Coach Hugh Freeze

Commentary by Steve Vassallo.
It was Hugh Freeze’s birthday Saturday as he presented “Ole Miss Nation” with a major gift — that being the first 4-0 start to a season in 44 years!
When you consider how many of our fans had not even been born yet in 1970, it’s a colossal accomplishment. My bias for this Head Coach and his staff may seen “over the top,” but I have many reasons to support my prejudice.
To begin with, these coaches are basically a “great” group of human beings. They inspire the fans tremendously, not to mention how they motivate our players. We are so “blessed” to have them here. Hugh Freeze is passionate about what he does, more so than most of his peers in the coaching profession….by far. When you think about all the coaches who have been at Ole Miss since John Vaught retired, Coach Freeze is the ONLY one who has created this “atmosphere.” It’s electric, exciting and it’s winning!
It was only just a few years ago when we (the fans) were told that it was impossible to recruit at Ole Miss. We were made to believe that we did not have the fan base; we could not compete financially with the Bama’s and Tennessee’s; our image (mascot and history) were working against us; and our facilities (size of stadium included) were secondary in nature. I never bought into that argument and apparently Coach Freeze doesn’t either. For a couple of decades we have been fortunate to have America’s number one football family in our court, the Mannings, and now we have another….the Nkemdiches…thanks to Hugh Freeze!
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Coach Freeze leads his Rebels onto Vaught-Hemingway.

Hugh Freeze, upon arriving at Ole Miss, did not see obstacles in his way, he only saw the opportunities guiding his way. When one inventories all that Ole Miss has going for it, the assets outweigh the liabilities by a considerable margin. Here’s how I view it. To start with, our mid-south location is outstanding. Driving to the major cities of Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Birmingham and Atlanta is a minor concern.
This is the most beautiful campus located within the confines of a modern day Mayberry that you will ever find. It’s a fun and safe place to be. Mayor Pat Patterson has reinforced this environment and it’s paying huge dividends.
The Ole Miss history is not negative as some would lead you to believe…it’s a very strong magnet. It all starts with the the reputation of the Miss Americas and showcasing the most beautiful and intelligent women in the world. Over the past 60 years nothing has changed! It only gets better, if that’s possible. This only contributes to the “mystique” of the place located in this beautiful “deep south setting.” The first time I visited the campus in May, 1965, I had the feeling I was on the set of “Gone With The Wind.” When you leave the campus and travel either north or south on Lamar Blvd., it reminds me of the entrance to Augusta National…Magnolia Lane.
Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications
One of the most beautify campuses in America.

I could go on and on about all the many aspects why Ole Miss is such a great place, but our fan base already understands this. I also enjoy the fact that we are the ONLY major university in the country that is predominantly known by its nickname, Ole Miss, which sets us apart. If anyone ever attempts to change this, they are clueless about marketing!
Happy Birthday Coach Freeze! You deserve all of the accolades and awards that come your way. You are special, very special. Most everyone now realizes this. Even those few critics still “holding out” will come to this same realization. One only has to open their eyes and look who is heading down the highways arriving in Oxford… sooner than later. “Sooner has now arrived!”
Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss CommunicationsSteve Vassallo is a contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve’s lifelong dream has been to live in Oxford full-time. “I am now living my dream daily as is my wife Rosie, who works with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce,” Steve said. You can contact Steve at or call him at 985-852-7745.