Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze will coach the Flames from a medical chair at Louisiana if he makes the trip.
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze will decide on Saturday if he's traveling on Saturday for the Flames' game against the Ragin' Cajuns. Freeze told ESPN that it's a game-day decision depending on how his back feels, but Liberty has already prepared for his arrival by shipping a $5,000 medical chair to Louisiana's Cajun Field.
"I won't know until sometime tomorrow afternoon, and if I'm having those same [back] spasms, I won't go and don't need to go," he said. "But I want to do everything I can to be there for my team and for this university that's been so good to me."
Athletic director Ian McCaw told The News & Advance that Freeze's medical chair, which is designed to elevate and reduce stress on his back, is set to arrive in Lafayette on Friday. If Freeze makes the trip, he will to fly on a private jet from Lynchburg to Lafayette on Saturday ahead of the 7:30 p.m. ET contest.
Despite previous reports describing the special seat as a "dental chair," Liberty spokesperson Todd Wetmore told Yahoo the university does not considers it to a "medical chair." Freeze told ESPN that Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. purchased the MediLuxe MD4-2000 Deluxe Treatment Chair, which weighs 600 pounds and costs over $5,000. He said the university will bring the chair back to Virginia on its equipment truck in case he needs it at future home games.
Freeze missed nearly two weeks of Liberty's practices in the offseason due to a herniated disk. He underwent emergency surgery on Aug. 16 at the University of Virginia Medical Center and told ESPN that a "potentially life-threatening strand of staph infection entered his bloodstream."
Last week, Freeze coached Liberty from a hospital bed during the Flames' home opener at Williams Stadium. He arrived at the stadium in a wheelchair, then posted up in his hosptial bed while attempting to lead his squad, which lost 24–0 to Syracuse. Freeze's strange setup certainly resulted in some interesting images during Saturday's broadcast. He would not be able to coach Liberty from a hospital bed in the press box at Louisiana's Cajun Field, which was built in 1971.
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze with a different style of press conference tonight. He coached from a hospital bed in a coaches booth due to a back injury which he says he’ll have more of an update on in a few days.— Josh Schafer (@Schafer_44) September 1, 2019
Freeze on how he coached from the booth tonight: pic.twitter.com/EftJ7wFSUr
This is Freeze's first season as Liberty's head coach after being at the helm at Ole Miss from 2012-15. He led the Rebels to a 39–25 record before stepping down in July 2017 after it was discovered that he made calls to female escort services on his university-issued cell phone.