You’ve heard the term “armchair quarterback” before, but Liberty coach Hugh Freeze is adding a new twist to the concept as an armchair coach. The former Ole Miss coach recently underwent back surgery and is still on the mend due to the complicating nature of a scary staph infection, but he’s not letting his ills sideline him entirely.

In fact, Freeze is still coaching — and he’s doing so from the comfort of his own hotel room at the Fairfield Inn. Technology!

OK, so he’s coaching via walkie-talkie — not exactly the future of communication. But that he’s able to communicate and willingly working shows tremendous progress he’s made of late.

Freeze underwent surgery to address a potentially life-threatening strand of staph infection just last week and was released on Wednesday. He’s not expected to return to the office for several days, according to the school, but he’s already back and working. As he continues to heal, the staff plans to hold meetings at his hotel until he returns. 

Staph infections and back spasms are fairly common in nature, but they persisted so consistently and so severely that Liberty president Jerry Falwell stepped in to ensure he was being treated properly, which included a call to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a famed neurosurgeon. 

“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 wasn’t so quick to make sure we got the right people involved.”

Liberty opens its season against No. 22 Syracuse on Aug. 31, and while Freeze may not be at 100 percent by then, he remains heavily involved and in good spirits after a health scare.

“You want to be out there with those guys. I miss that,” said Freeze. “It’s frustrating that I can’t be, but I know there’s purpose in everything.”


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