Liberty's Hugh Freeze plans to travel, coach from 'medical chair'

Liberty head football coach Hugh Freeze arrives to coach from a wheelchair in the coaches' box against Syracuse in an NCAA college football game in Lynchburg, Va., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Bell)
Liberty head football coach Hugh Freeze arrives to the stadium in a wheelchair last Saturday. (AP Photo/Matt Bell)

A Liberty spokesman told Yahoo Sports on Friday that bedridden football coach Hugh Freeze does plan to make the trip to Louisiana for the Flames' game Saturday, and that the school has purchased what it calls a "medical chair" for him to use in the press box. A source with knowledge of the situation had previously characterized the chair as a dental chair.

"We're not calling it a dental chair," Todd Whetmore said. "It's a medical chair that allows him to be elevated."

Whetmore said the chair is being flown to Louisiana and installed in the press box Friday.

Liberty will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana, on Friday. Freeze is planning to travel separately from the team, arriving later, Whetmore said.

Freeze, who had back surgery in August, coached his first game at Liberty from a hospital bed in the press box at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia, last week. Such an arrangement would not be possible at Cajun Field, which has a press box that was built in 1971.

This is the latest odd twist for Freeze, who is attempting to re-start his career at Liberty after being forced out in disgrace at Mississippi in 2017, when phone calls to escort services were discovered on his university-issued cell phone. The Ole Miss program also was hit with severe NCAA sanctions.

A couple of Southeastern Conference schools were interested in hiring Freeze as an offensive coordinator last year, but league commissioner Greg Sankey quietly nixed that behind the scenes. Liberty, the university founded by evangelical Christian Jerry Falwell Sr. and run by Jerry Jr., gave fellow outspoken Christian Freeze his second chance.

Freeze's tenure began with a 24-0 loss to Syracuse last week, featuring the odd coaching arrangement from the press box. He gave a pregame speech to his team via remote, and held a postgame press conference in the same manner.

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