Hugh Freeze hospitalized for infection after experiencing severe back pain

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Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze attends an NCAA college football practice in Lynchburg, Va., Sunday,  Aug. 4, 2019. (Taylor Irby/The News & Advance via AP)
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze may have to coach the team's first game of 2019 from the booth. (AP)

Former Ole Miss and current Liberty coach Hugh Freeze was hospitalized after a Friday surgery for an infection.

Per ESPN, Freeze said a strand of staph infection was discovered after he was experiencing significant back pain from a herniated disc.

"The doctors told me if it had been another 24 hours, that strand of bacteria could have gotten to my heart and that I would have been fighting for my life," Freeze told ESPN. "It's the way God works because there's no doubt that bacteria would have killed me if [Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr.] wasn't so quick to make sure we got the right people involved."

According to the ESPN story, Falwell, a big supporter of President Donald Trump, phoned up Dr. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who is now the Housing and Urban Development Secretary in Trump’s cabinet. Carson connected Freeze to a doctor in Arizona who was flown in to perform surgery on Freeze in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Freeze also told ESPN there’s a possibility he’ll have to coach Liberty’s season-opener on Aug. 31 from the booth instead of the sideline and will be hospitalized into the next week.

Freeze was hired in December at Liberty — a school where the athletic director is former Baylor AD Ian McCaw — following a two-year hiatus from coaching college football.

The former Ole Miss coach resigned in the summer of 2017 after at least one phone call to an escort service was discovered from his Ole Miss-issued phone. While Freeze said the call was a misdial, then-Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork said the school had found a “pattern of conduct.” In addition to the escort service misdial, Freeze’s tenure included NCAA violations severe enough to lead to a two-year bowl ban for the school.

Freeze was reportedly considered for assistant coaching jobs in the SEC for the 2018 season but none of those materialized.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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