Hugh Freeze will be at Ole Miss for a little longer, and he'll have a little more spending money in his pocket after receiving a one-year contract extension and a $500,000 raise. The raise increases the first-year coach's base salary to $2 million per season.
Freeze's new contract lasts through 2016 and includes a $100,000 bonus per SEC win, beginning with the second victory of the season.
This is a well-deserved raise for Freeze, who was hired last December after serving as Arkansas State's head coach for a year. In his first year at Ole Miss, he completely transformed the culture of that football program. The Rebels entered the 2012 season with six combined wins in the past two years and left the 2012 season with six more wins and a bowl berth for the first time since 2009.
The 6-6 Rebels will take on Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 5.
Ole Miss also began the year on a 14-game conference losing streak, but won three SEC games, including a 41-24 win against rival Mississippi State in the regular season finale to become bowl eligible. It was the first win for the Rebels against Mississippi State since 2008.
But it wasn't just the wins that were impressive under Freeze. This was a team that had players who openly admitted that there were times in the two years prior to Freeze's arrival where players quit during games. Playing for four quarters was hardly an option for some players during the last two years of Houston Nutt's tenure.
That totally changed in 2012. Freeze improved the discipline, which was really lacking under Nutt, and injected more competitive spirit into Ole Miss' locker room. If not for a couple of second-half meltdowns, the Rebels might be looking at least eight wins this season.
But six wins was more than what a lot of people expected from this team, and there's much more excitement in Oxford thanks to Freeze and his team.