The high school coach made famous for his mentorship of Michael Oher in the blockbuster film "The Blind Side" is using his 15 minutes of fame as a recruiting advantage.
Hugh Freeze, made famous in the book and film, is now the head football coach at Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference. Freeze told the New York Times that he uses the film's unimagined success to help recruit athletes to the school located in the sleepy college town of Jonesboro.
The Arkansas State coach says that his part in Oher's rise to success is "a great icebreaker." Freeze feels that potential recruit's families often feel they can trust sending their sons to play for him because of the way he treated Oher.
It's interesting to note that Freeze has never actually read Michael Lewis' best-selling book "The Blind Side" on which the film was based. Freeze had his wife Jill tell him the key parts of the book in which he was featured. “It’s my personality that I can’t sit and listen to anyone for more than 30 minutes, except for my pastor,” Freeze told the Times.
Freeze has a few gripes with the Hollywood version of his story coaching at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis. He says he "would never" use a cellphone during a game as they claimed in the film. He also is still very close with Oher, who's now playing with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. The two regularly text each other.
"The Blind Side," is the highest grossing sports drama of all time with a jaw dropping $255,959,475 made at the box office.
While many coaches like to boast about how much time they spend breaking down film, Freeze kiddingly says he has attention deficit disorder that hasn't been diagnosed yet. He doesn't watch much video of opponents, but Freeze makes sure to record NASCAR races, only watching the crashes and final 40 laps.
Arkansas State has had a magical season under Freeze's guidance. The Red Wolves are 5-2 with a chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. If they beat North Texas, they'll have their best start since 1986. Arkansas State's offense is ranked higher (31st) than traditional powers Nebraska (35th) and Southern California (37th).