'We got our man'

A five-member committee led the search for a new head coach. Co-chairmen Archie Manning and Mike Glenn, who spearheaded the search, held a conference call with local and national media Monday afternoon following the announcement of Hugh Freeze.

Follow SpiritBen on Twitter

Manning, on the number of candidates approached:

"Obviously we considered a lot of candidates. All of this is new to me. There are candidates out there who don't want it known they were interviewed. Mike and I did most of the interviews and reported to the rest of the committee. I don't have a number."

Manning, on if the hiring of Freeze was convenient:

"Anything to do with college football these days, you can probably expect a little criticism. The BCS (experience) didn't enter my mind very much. I wasn't thinking about that as we looked for a good football coach, a good fit for Ole Miss. I don't understand at all about a convenient hire. Mike can speak for himself, but we spent a lot of time together. I think we went into this wide open. We considered people from coast to coast."

Glenn, on the number of candidates:

"The pool of candidates was significant. It included NFL coaches, D-I level coaches, coordinators and we vetted each of the candidates in great detail, along with Bob Beaudine. We narrowed the list. We started conducting interviews. We selected the candidate that stood out the most to the committee. He was our No. 1 choice coming out of those interviews. We got our guy."

Glenn, on the search and if the hiring of Freeze was predetermined:

"When Archie and I first got together, we laid out a process that we wanted to follow; that included hiring Eastman and Beaudine. The chart to Eastman and Beaudine was to identify the candidates that they felt would be a good fit for Ole Miss and coaches that had interest in Ole Miss. There was a deep pool for us for consideration."

Manning, on if the hiring of Freeze was predetermined:

"I can assure you, if this was a predetermined hire, I don't think Mike and I would've been consumed for the last three weeks like we have been. I would have probably gone to my grandchildren's baptisms and gotten some business things done that needed to get done. So there was nothing predetermined."

Glenn, on when the decision was made:

"The decision was made to offer Coach Freeze the job last evening. That was after an extensive interview process. The chancellor spent several hours with Coach Freeze, as did the rest of the committee. Once we completed all of those interviews, we got good feedback. The decision was made to offer Coach Freeze the job last evening."

Glenn, on why Freeze stood out from the rest:

"I think the thing that impressed Archie and I about Coach Freeze was the energy, passion, level of excitement and his approach to the interview process. He came in with a very detailed plan. The plan was entitled "Ole Miss: The Journey to BCS Championships." That plan included a lot of detail on offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy, recruiting philosophy, strength and conditioning, nutrition, how he handles disciplinary issues, things of that nature. And, of course, his ability to assemble a staff, his approach to recruiting, his understanding of Ole Miss, what it takes to win here, combined with his passion and enthusiasm for this job. And I think all those things clearly set him apart from our perspective.

"We were both impressed with his ability, from a leadership perspective, and were confident that he's going to be successful at Ole Miss."

Manning, on Freeze's coaching ability:

"I think his knowledge of Ole Miss, his love of Ole Miss, his desire to be the coach at Ole Miss, his leadership and integrity. Certainly we talked a lot about staff. We talked a lot about recruiting, and Mike hit on all aspects of discipline, which is important. Getting into the Xs and Os, where Hugh is very good, he's not just a … I used to have a coach who said some coaches are just grass kickers. They kind of supervise. Hugh's a great Xs and Os guy. He hadn't had years and years of head coaching experience, but he's been very successful. He garners great respect from assistant coaches that have worked for him, people that have coached against him. All those things were a factor. We pressed the fact that last year Arkansas State had a great year, won their conference and not only with offense but defense.

"He made a great impression on us. I don't think it was a concern, but we just had people tell us two more years of him coaching where he is now, what a hot commodity people felt like he would be in this profession. He was someone coming up and doing it the right way and doing it with success. We think in that respect, we're jumping the gun right here and getting an outstanding coach."

Glenn, on Freeze:

"I think what impress us the most is the fact that he's won quickly at every level. If you look at his teams, they're built on character, discipline, sound fundamental football. He's got a formula for success, and he's implemented that formula wherever he's been. You don't have to do anything more than look back at the accomplishments at Arkansas State. They took a team that was very good offensively but not very good defensively and turned that around to a team that went 10-2. And that's with a guy who's kind of viewed as an offensive guru at the helm. He knows how to get it done. As Bob Beaudine said, he can see coaches that got it and coaches that don't. He clearly stated that Hugh has it. He's interviewed a lot of coaches, and he was very impressed to say the least coming out of the interview. He made a firm recommendation to us for us to hire Hugh, which we agreed with."

Glenn, on if having Ole Miss connections was a criteria in the search:

"I think it was certainly desirable to get somebody that was familiar with Ole Miss, who understands Ole Miss, that understood what it takes to recruit Mississippi successfully. Ole Miss is a special place. We certainly didn't rule anybody out because they didn't have connections to Ole Miss. But at the same time, we were thrilled that many of these candidates that we talked to had a connection to Ole Miss or certainly had a good understanding of Ole Miss, which was kind of surprising considering we compete in the Southeastern Conference. But it was not a criteria but it was certainly desirable. We're excited to see him lead the team going forward."

Manning, on what Freeze said in the interview that impressed the most:

"I probably don't need to stir up any state rivalries right here. I'll be quiet right now on that one."

OM Spirit Top Stories