LAFAYETTE, La. — Liberty athletic director Ian McCaw said the university has purchased a medical chair and it is set to arrive Friday morning in Lafayette for football coach Hugh Freeze to use in the coaches’ booth Saturday night against Louisiana.
McCaw said the intention is for Freeze to fly on a private jet from Lynchburg to Lafayette on Saturday and then coach the 7:30 p.m. game while sitting in the medical chair, which is designed to be elevated and ease the stress on his surgically repaired back.
The team is slated to arrive in Lafayette Friday afternoon. McCaw said the chair, the MediLuxe MD4-2000 Deluxe Treatment Chair, was received by the University of Louisiana operations staff late Friday morning and is scheduled to be installed at Cajun Field shortly. It weighs 185 pounds and McCaw said the retail cost is nearly $5,300 before tax.
Freeze, 49, underwent back surgery for a staph infection Aug. 16 at the University of Virginia Medical Center, almost one week after he began experiencing severe back spasms.
His Liberty coaching debut last weekend garnered national attention as he laid in a hospital bed and called plays from the home coaches’ booth at Williams Stadium against Syracuse.
Cajun Field was built in 1971, and the visiting coaches’ booth is not able to accommodate a hospital bed like the home booth at Williams Stadium.
Louisiana coach Billy Napier said earlier this week he and the university “want to do all we can to help coach Freeze. It’s a unique scenario for him.”
Freeze on Thursday spent his first extended amount of time in his office on the fifth floor of the Williams Stadium tower behind the west grandstands. It served as a test run to see how his back felt after sitting upright for a long period of time, which he will have to do if he makes the trip to Cajun Field.
Liberty has not formally announced that Freeze will make the trip. If he does, the Flames will implement the same plan as they ran in the opener against Syracuse: co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Maurice Harris will serve as Freeze’s proxy on the field. Freeze will call first- and second-down offensive plays, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kent Austin will call third-down plays, and Freeze will aid defensive coordinator Scott Symons on third-down and tight red-zone calls.