It’s getting harder and harder to envision a world in which Lane Kiffin is not the next head coach at Auburn, even after his denials. Several reporters, on both the Auburn and Ole Miss side of things, find this to be the case. Numerous people unconnected to either program have also said the coaching world views the Ole Miss football job as soon to be vacated, and coaches are already putting out feelers to gauge Ole Miss’ interest.
Ole Miss football is in a very promising position to deal with the departure of their coach, believe it or not. NIL donations have exploded in recent weeks, and reports suggest that while Lane Kiffin estimated his program would need around $4.5 million in NIL money for the 2023 season, Ole Miss’ largest NIL collective, The Grove Collective, currently has in the neighborhood of $7 million on hand to spend specifically on football.
The Manning Center, Ole Miss’ football facility, is currently undergoing wide-scale renovations expected to be completed this coming offseason. The extension offer to Kiffin from Ole Miss reportedly held a base salary of $9.5 million with incentives that would’ve taken total pay to somewhere in the region of $11 million.
These are all incredibly attractive prospects for any coach, and several coaches have already had their names linked with the top job in Oxford. Let’s take a look into five of those names and judge how good a fit they may be, in no particular order.
5. Hugh Freeze, Head Coach of Liberty
Could the reunion be possible? Jimmy Sexton, college football super agent, is definitely hoping so. He represents just about everyone connected to the SEC, and Huge Freeze is reportedly the man Sexton wants to push into Oxford if the job becomes open. Ole Miss is reportedly less than enthusiastic about it, given the state Freeze left Ole Miss in 2016.
From 2012-16, Freeze amassed a 27-25 record, though that doesn’t tell the whole story. In 2014, he guided the Rebels to a 9-4 record, including a win over then-No. 2 Alabama. In 2015, Freeze repeated the trick, beating Alabama, and this time finishing 10-3 with a Sugar Bowl victory on top of it. In 2016, things fell apart, as his Rebels blew 21-point leads to both Florida State and Alabama, losing both, and after a litany of NCAA sanctions and other allegations about Freeze’s personal life came out, he and Ole Miss parted ways.
After taking time off from coaching, Freeze returned to take the Liberty job in 2019, where he has since compiled a 34-13 record with the Flames. He’s definitely deserving of a Power Five job, but Ole Miss is probably not the one he’s going to get.