Liberty, Hugh Freeze agree to contract extension through 2028

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
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Liberty and football coach Hugh Freeze have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the Flames through 2028.

The school announced the extension. A person familiar with the deal says Freeze will be paid an average of more than $4 million a year over the life of the contract, making him one of the highest paid coaches at the Group of Five level.

With the early signing period in December, Freeze said it certainly makes the extension more pertinent. He said it takes him out of the conversations about other coaching openings and the potential that schools would target him.

“It’s certainly something our recruiting department would get out prior to me leaving Sunday to go recruit to make sure that everyone that we’re after knows where we stand,” Freeze said. “And so I do think it’s helpful for sure, and I’m excited to get that in our recruits hands.”

Freeze said when his name surfaces in coaching searches, it is a compliment.

“What matters to me is just that I’m being as transparent with our kids and our administration and what we’re trying to do here. So I don’t really think I can ever control that,” he said. “And again, I think it’s a compliment to this place and to our commitment to being successful and to what our kids and staff have done here.”

The Flames (7-4) have compiled a 25-10 record since Freeze took over three years ago. They were 10-1 last season, capping the year with a victory against No. 9 Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl and finished No. 17 in the Top 25.

Last season also included a series of firsts for the Flames:

– Their first victories against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent – they beat both Syracuse and Virginia Tech.

– Their first national ranking and their first victory against a team in the Top 25.

– Their bowl victory also was the school’s second in a row, making the Flames just the second team to win back-to-back bowl games in their first two seasons after transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Flames have competed as an independent since making the jump to the FBS in 2018, but will move to Conference USA for the 2023 season.

Freeze, 52, compiled a 39-25 record at Mississippi from 2011-2016, but resigned after an investigation revealed he’d used a state-issued cell phone to make calls to an escort service. The school also was forced to vacate 33 victories – 27 under Freeze – for recruiting and academic violations dating to 2010.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.