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Freeze Foundation Welcomes Coach Madison Manning Back For A Weekend He Won’t Forget

The Ole Miss Rebels are in the midst of a difficult season. Needing a win this weekend, head coach Hugh Freeze called in some help from Coach Madison Manning as a part of the Freeze Foundation’s Wish Program “Freeze’s Friends.” 

Madison Manning, 20, knows all about facing adversity head on. He battles with Cystic Fibrosis, an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs in the body. The Ellisville, Mississippi native was named an honorary coach during a visit to fall camp and was asked to return to the Rebel program for this weekend’s matchup against Georgia Southern. 

As the Rebels finished up their final practice on Friday, every single player came over and greeted Coach Manning. 

“It was awesome, it makes you feel a lot closer to the program,” Manning said. “It really makes you feel like a part of the Ole Miss family.”

Manning’s return to Oxford comes just one month after spending 31 days in the hospital receiving treatment. During his time in the hospital, Manning received texts, calls and videos of support from Hugh Freeze and the Rebel family. 

“That really helped a lot. There were so many other things that he could be worrying about, but for him to take the time to check up on me means a lot,” Manning said. 

Manning’s parents Donna and Mike are thankful for what Freeze and the Rebel program has done for their son. 

“It was special to see him truly care about Madison. It shows you what kind of man he really is, and it’s not just when the cameras are on,” Donna said. 

Spending time with the players and talking strategy with Coach Freeze
kicked off the weekend; but after that, Madison needed to do what all coaches do the night before a big game… go out to dinner.  Madison and his family went out to Hugh Freeze’s favorite restaurant, Oxford Grillhouse. Manning has a proven track record of being a big steak fan, during his time in the hospital he was able to get out to take down a 22 oz porterhouse steak. 

Saturday morning, Madison and his family headed to the stadium for game day. Stationed by the Chucky Mullins bust inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Madison was the last fan along the thousands lined up for the Walk of Champions. Madison talked with Coach Freeze and many of the players as they walked by for a few last minute preparations ahead of kickoff. After spending time on the field and in the locker room, Madison made his way up to Freeze’s suite to watch the game in style.

The Rebels are now 1-0 with Coach Manning in attendance, and with a check-up on Tuesday, the Rebels are hoping to give Madison the same luck he’s brought them. The Freeze Foundation is dedicated to giving children of all ages a chance to have an experience, like Madison’s, that they will never forget. 

“There is such a feeling of family during these visits, and that’s what we at the Freeze Foundation are trying to accomplish,” executive director Alice Blackmon said. “Madison has been through so much, and I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that has given him a weekend that he will always remember.” 

Check out photos from Madison’s weekend with the Rebels below:

Madison and Coach Freeze talking after Friday's walkthrough
Madison and Coach Freeze talking after Friday’s walkthrough
Madison with his parents, Donna & Mike Manning
Madison with his parents, Donna & Mike Manning
Madison & Evan Engram
Madison with TE Evan Engram
Madison with QB Chad Kelly
Madison with QB Chad Kelly
Madison at Oxford Grillhouse Photo Courtesy: Alice Blackmon
Madison at Oxford Grillhouse. Photo Courtesy: Alice Blackmon
Madison on the field before the game. Photo Courtesy: Alice Blackmon
Madison on the field before the game. Photo Courtesy: Alice Blackmon
From Left to Right: Alice Blackmon, Donna, Madison, and Mike Manning
From Right to Left: Alice Blackmon, Donna, Madison, and Mike Manning. Photo Courtesy: Alice Blackmon

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com.

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