Ole Miss football turning the page with Matt Luke from Gulfport leading the program

Ole Miss football turning the page with Matt Luke from Gulfport leading the program

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Hugh Freeze quickly turned Ole Miss into an SEC and national contender and was a fan favorite, but now those fans are dealing with life after Hugh Freeze.

"Pretty shocking," described Gulfport Attorney and Ole Miss fan Tim Holleman. "I first got a text from one of my friends and I thought it was a joke. Later in the night I went on the internet and was unpleasantly surprised that it was not a joke."

The shocking part for Holleman is the reason Freeze resigned, what University officials described as a concerning pattern of behavior.

"I felt strongly that he was a good person and had done right by Ole Miss," Holleman said.

Now former Ole Miss player from Gulfport Matt Luke will lead the Rebels as Interim Head Coach.

Jason Krohn grew up with Luke and played football with him at Gulfport High. Also an Ole Miss alum, Krohn believes Luke is the right person to guide the Rebels through difficult times.

"There's going to be nobody with better standards and morals to lead that team right now," Krohn said.

Luke also comes from an Ole Miss family. Like Matt, his dad and brother Tom played for the Rebels and Tom is on the staff with him now.

Luke has plenty of experience with head coaching changes as well. Krohn said as a player Luke was a team leader when David Cutcliffe replaced Tommy Tuberville in the 90s. He's now, on three different occasions, been an assistant at Ole Miss during a head coaching transition.

"There's not another Rebel player or person that could step in right now and handle this situation and the team rally behind them," Krohn said.

The season ahead will serve as an audition for Luke and Krohn thinks he's already done enough to be the permanent head coach.

"He's red and blue all the way and his family is," said Krohn. "I don't think there's anybody they could hire that's better."

No matter what happens from here Ole Miss fans like Tim Holleman will be sticking with the Rebels.

"We've survived a lot worse," Holleman said. "Ole Miss has been there for almost 200 years and I don't think we're going anywhere."

The Rebels officially turn the page when the new season begins Sept. 2 hosting South Alabama.

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