A lot of people knew who Hugh Freeze was before he came to Ole Miss, but Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s relationship with the coach goes a little deeper than most.
Sumlin said during the SEC teleconference Wednesday he’s known Freeze since he was a head coach at Briarcrest Christian School (Eads, Tenn.), while Sumlin was an assistant coach at Oklahoma. Freeze earned national fame at Briarcrest because of The Blind Side, a book by Michael Lewis and eventually a hit movie starring Sandra Bullock.
Sumlin jokingly claimed that his likeness was represented in the movie during a scene where a group of college coaches came to see the workouts of one of Freeze’s former players at Briarcrest Christian, Michael Oher.
“They have that one [scene] where Michael’s got all these assistant coaches and [Tennessee coach] Phil Fulmer and there’s a guy in the Oklahoma hat,” Sumlin said. “And I usually like to kell my kids, ‘see that’s me but not really me in the movie.’”
Sumlin said his friendship with Freeze began to develop when they met each other at SEC Media Day before the 2012 season as new head coaches in the league.
“We got in this league at the same time,” Sumlin said. “I was the first guy up on the podium at the SEC media day right after [ SEC Commissioner] Michael Slive. We kind of talked that night just about what to expect the next day and we’ve done things [together] after.”
Sumlin said he doesn’t see anything strange about having to coach against his friend when the Aggies play the Rebels on Saturday.
“The longer you’re in this business, the more friends you get to play,” Sumlin said. “That’s the nature of the business. Just like starting off the year playing four or five guys [I knew] against Arizona State and playing Oklahoma against Bob Stoops.”