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Ole Miss extends Hugh Freeze's deal, boosts pay to $5 million

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, who this season guided the Rebels to their first Sugar Bowl victory in 46 years, has received a new contract that will pay him just under $5 million per year.

Freeze's new deal will average $4.925 million annually through 2019, making him the third-highest-paid coach in the SEC behind Alabama's Nick Saban and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin. Freeze is also among the 10 highest-paid coaches nationally.

Freeze's base salary goes from $4.3 million in 2015 to $4.7 million in 2016. His salary increases by $150,000 per year, and incentives will continue to be based on APR, playoff rankings, coaching honors and SEC Championship game and bowl participation.

His contract was extended by a year to the maximum of four years allowed by the state of Mississippi.

In addition, Ole Miss increased the salary pool of its four assistant coaches from $3.11 million to $4.26 million, and the budget for operations, strength and conditioning and other support staff increases by $260,000.

"In four short years, Hugh Freeze has taken Ole Miss football from the bottom of the SEC to one of the premier programs in college football," Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said. "Coach Freeze is a unique leader who has the ability to develop young men both on and off the field. With his staff's leadership, chemistry and integrity, there are championships in our future, and this investment and ongoing stadium renovations include our commitment to supporting the vision. We look forward to seeing coach Freeze on the Ole Miss sidelines for a long time."

Freeze completed his fourth season in Oxford after inheriting an Ole Miss program that went 2-10 the year before he arrived and had lost 15 straight SEC games.

Over the last two seasons, the Rebels have won 19 games, their most in a two-year period since 1961-62, when John Vaught's teams won 19 games.

Ole Miss also has eight wins over nationally ranked foes in the last two seasons, including back-to-back wins over Alabama. The only other SEC team with more wins over ranked teams in that span is Alabama with 12.

"I am humbled and blessed by the continued confidence our administration continues to show in our staff," said Freeze, who is 3-1 in bowl games as Ole Miss' coach. "I am grateful especially to Ross for his proactive leadership and steadfast support.

"I also appreciate the salary increases for our assistant coaches and support staff, who have worked extremely hard to build this program. My family loves Oxford and the Ole Miss family and are blessed by God to continue building this program and working with the young men that choose this great university."

Ole Miss' 2016 recruiting class is ranked No. 2 nationally by ESPN. Freeze's second class in 2013, which included Robert Nkemdiche, Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, was ranked No. 5.