Ole Miss’ Freeze returning to Natchez

Published 12:01am Thursday, April 4, 2013

NATCHEZ — Off the heels of his National Football Foundation speech, Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will return to Natchez later this month.

Freeze, entering his second year as the Rebels’ coach, will join Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork and other university guests at the 2013 BankcorpSouth Rebel Road Trip banquet April 23 at the Vue Hotel and Restaurant on 130 John R. Junkin Drive.

Key Smith, president of the Southwest Mississippi Chapter of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, said the annual event will give Ole Miss alumni and fans an idea of where each athletic program currently stands. It will also give them a chance to meet and mingle with the faces of Ole Miss athletics.

“People want to come and see the names they recognize and see on TV,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of hype around Ole Miss sports right now. The football team and basketball team both had good seasons, and baseball is off to a good start. There’s a lot of positive energy.”

Smith also said it’s good for locals to see the faces of Ole Miss athletics up close and personal, since it’s not always realistic to drive to a game on Saturdays in the fall.

“Let’s face it — we’re pretty far from Oxford,” Smith said. “It’s hard to make that trek to Oxford when it’s four hours away. You can’t just drive up to the game and back in a day like our fellow LSU fans.

“Ole Miss has done more of its fair share to come to Natchez, Woodville and Jefferson County and let people know they’re there and that the whole athletic department is supporting the entire state.”

Freeze spoke at the annual banquet for the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in February, and Smith said the Rebels head coach would be more readily available this go-around.

“It’s not a huge convention center-packing thing where he speaks and he’s gone,” Smith said.

Tickets for the event are $20 per person, which includes lunch. The banquet will last from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., beginning with a meet-and-greet period followed by a presentation on the Rebel Road Trip, which will detail the status of every Ole Miss athletic program. Following that, both Freeze and Bjork will give individual presentations. Raffle items will be available to win.

Tickets are still available, but seating is limited and filling up quickly. For more information, Smith can be contacted by phone at Natchez Wealth Management at 601-445-2022, or by e-mail at wkeysmith@gmail.com.

Smith also said the Southwest Mississippi Chapter will host a crawfish boil April 18, and to contact him for more information.