Hugh Freeze on Thursday resigned as coach of Ole Miss Rebels football team, according to the University of Mississippi.
The college in Oxford, MS announced Freeze’s resignation on its football program’s official Twitter account, adding that assistant head coach Matt Luke will serve as interim head coach.
ANNOUNCEMENT | Hugh Freeze has resigned effective immediately. Matt Luke interim head coach. Press conference live at 7:30 PM CT on ESPNews.— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) July 20, 2017
USA Today Sports reported Thursday that Freeze’s resignation follows a one-minute call he made on a University-issued phone to a number associated with a female escort service.
The call, which was reportedly made on the evening of Jan. 19, 2016, reportedly went to a number bearing a 313 area code in Detroit.
USA Today Sports independently confirmed, however, that the number is associated with several web sites advertising a female escort based in Tampa, FL.
Twitter users on Thursday criticized Freeze’s reported actions, with many commenting upon the football coach’s vocal Christian faith.
Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bork said Thursday that Freeze resigned after the school discovered a “concerning pattern” of inappropriate conduct in his phone records.
“[We would] have exercised the termination clause in the call for moral turpitude,” he said of how Ole Miss would have acted had Freeze not resigned.
Freeze’s phone records emerged as an issue between the University of Mississippi’s legal counsel and former football coach Houston Nutt’s attorney.
Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, reportedly sent an email to Lee Tyner, the university’s general counsel, earlier this month.
Mars’s email purportedly referenced a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain.”
The message came on July 13, one day after Nutt filed a federal lawsuit against Ole Miss for breaking the terms of its severance agreement with him.
Ole Miss is currently embroiled in a case involving 21 alleged infractions against its football program under National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules.
The allegations include a lack of institutional control within the football program and a failure to monitor it for infractions.
Freeze went 39-25 in five seasons coaching the Rebels, with the team ultimately ending 5-7 last season.