Hugh Freeze: The Blind Side Coach, New Opportunities

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who is Hugh Freeze in The Blind Side? How did Hugh Freeze influence Michael’s football career?

Hugh Freeze in The Blind Side was Michael Oher’s high school football coach at Briarcrest. He was very involved in Michael Oher’s recruitment.

Read more about Hugh Freeze, The Blind Side, and the opportunities for Michael.

Hugh Freeze: The Blind Side Coach

To avoid any suspicion of favoritism for Ole Miss, Sean stayed out of the recruitment process. He routed all communication requests through Hugh Freeze. This move didn’t fool anyone. The Tuohys were already building a house near the Ole Miss campus, assuming Collins would attend and cheer there. Their house was decorated on a normal day with Ole Miss paraphernalia, which grew to intense proportions with their Ole Miss-decorated Christmas tree during the holidays. Each coach walking through the Tuohys’ front door had to pitch their program under the shadow of this tree. 

But Hugh Freeze in The Blind Side quickly became a liability in Michael’s decision process, as well, when he started interviewing for a job on staff at the University of Tennessee. He wasted no time in trying to impart to Michael all the reasons UT was the right school for him. Leigh Anne also wasn’t shy about her feelings about Michael attending Ole Miss, but she didn’t pressure him. But his tutor, a woman named Sue Mitchell, who’d been working with Michael on his grades five hours a day, six days a week for several months and also an Ole Miss alumna, did. On the day before Michael was leaving to visit the Tennessee campus, Sue told him that she’d heard it on good authority that the FBI conducted decomposition tests on corpses and buried the bodies under the football stadium. 

Many people had a vested interest in where Michael decided to attend college, but he took it all in stride. He never committed to one school or another in a serious way and entertained any and all offers to visit campuses in an official or unofficial capacity. The only caveat was that if he was intending to go to Ole Miss, the Tuohys thought it best to officially adopt him to avoid looking like boosters offering monetary bribes to influence Michael’s decision

In general, Michael had taken a lot away from the five-month recruitment process regarding people. He saw who cared about him and who wanted to profit off of him. Hugh Freeze fell into this latter group, as Michael saw that Hugh had used his relationship with him to secure a position on the Tennessee coaching staff. He also saw that Sean respected him enough not to pressure him, and although Leigh Anne and Sue had made their feelings clear, their intentions were more about his support system than school loyalty. 

Hugh Freeze: The Blind Side Coach, New Opportunities

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Michael Lewis's "The Blind Side" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Blind Side summary:

  • How Michael Oher went from the projects in Memphis to the NFL
  • Why the combination of size and speed became essential for football stars
  • How Oher was taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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