Liberty Flames football
The Liberty Flames is the college football program representing Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames compete in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as an independent. The program, which previously competed in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), announced it would start a transition to the top level of NCAA football in July 2017. The Flames became a provisional FBS member in 2018, and became a full FBS member with bowl eligibility in 2019.
|Liberty Flames Football|
|Athletic director||Ian McCaw|
|Head coach||Hugh Freeze |
1st season, 7–5 (.583)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Division I FBS Independents|
|All-time record||250–204–4 (.550)|
|Colors||Blue, White, and Red|
|Fight song||Fan the Flames!|
|Marching band||The Spirit of the Mountain|
Danny Rocco era (2006–2011)Edit
In 2007, the Flames captured their first Big South Conference Football championship with a 31–0 victory over Gardner-Webb. The Flames capped off their second year under head coach Danny Rocco with an 8–3 record and an unblemished 4–0 Big South record to claim the title.
Liberty ran its unbeaten Big South streak to 11-straight games, finishing back-to-back conference championship seasons with a 30–10 victory over Gardner-Webb. The Flames finished with a 10–2 record on the year and finished the conference slate unbeaten at 5–0. The Flames to become the first team in Big South history to win five conference games in a season and joined Gardner-Webb as the only two teams to post consecutive unbeaten seasons. Liberty finished ranked 15th in the FCS Coaches Poll and 14th in the Sports Network Poll.
Undefeated in Big South play for 2009, the Flames just needed to capture a win over Stony Brook in the season finale to secure a 3rd straight Big South Conference Championship. Stony Brook who had only lost one game in Big South play (a 30–27 overtime loss to Charleston Southern the previous week) for 2009 could claim half of the Big South Championship with a win over Liberty. The Seawolves won the game 36–33 to share the 2009 Big South Championship with the Flames.
Liberty again became conference co-champions again in 2010. Coastal beat Liberty for the first time since 2006 then the Flames bounced back the next week to secure a win over Stony Brook and a share of the conference championship (three-way tie with Coastal Carolina and Stony Brook).
Turner Gill era (2012–2018)Edit
Liberty became the conference co-champion for the third time in 2012. After starting off 2–0 in conference play, Liberty traveled to Coastal Carolina, where they lost to the Chanticleers 36–12, bringing their overall record to 3–5. Liberty would then play then ninth ranked Stony Brook, beating them 28–14, also extending their at home conference win streak which dates back to 2006. In order to win a share at the Big South title, they would have to beat the Virginia Military Institute Keydets. Liberty won the game 33–14, and won a share of the title along with Stony Brook and Coastal Carolina with a record of 6–5 (5–1 in conference play).
The 2013 Flames shared the conference championship for a second consecutive year in 2013. Liberty opened up conference play at home against Coastal Carolina, where they let a 19-point lead slip away in the second half as the Chanticleers rallied to win in double overtime, 55–52. The Flames would rebound with a shutout victory at Gardner-Webb to mark the first shutout in Turner Gill's eight seasons as a head coach. After victories at home over VMI and Presbyterian, the Flames captured a share of the Big South title with a 56–14 victory at Charleston Southern who has previously beaten Coastal Carolina. Liberty shared the title with Coastal Carolina, each with identical 4–1 conference marks, though Coastal Carolina received the automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.
Liberty became the conference co-champion for the third consecutive year in 2014. Liberty started Big South Conference play against Gardner-Webb with a 34–0 shutout victory. After three consecutive conference victories, the Flames fell at home to Charleston Southern, 38–36. The loss to Charleston Southern would be Liberty's only loss in Big South play. The Flames rebounded with a 15–14 win over rival Coastal Carolina (ranked No. 1 in the FCS polls at the time), and Liberty clinched a share of the Big South Conference championship. Liberty also earned its first ever FCS playoff berth in school history. Liberty defeated James Madison in the first round of the playoffs, 26–21, before losing to Villanova in the second round, 29–22.
Liberty earned a conference co-championship again in 2016, marking their eighth conference championship. They finished the season 6–5, 4–1 in Big South play to share the conference championship with Charleston Southern. Despite the conference title, the Flames were not invited to the FCS playoffs.
Hugh Freeze era (2019– )Edit
Liberty has been both independent and affiliated with one conference.
Liberty has won eight Big South Conference championships, two outright and six shared.
|Season||Conference||Coach||Overall record||Conference record|
|2007||Big South Conference||Danny Rocco||8–3||4–0|
|2008||Big South Conference||Danny Rocco||10–2||5–0|
|2009†||Big South Conference||Danny Rocco||8–3||5–1|
|2010†||Big South Conference||Danny Rocco||8–3||5–1|
|2012†||Big South Conference||Turner Gill||6–5||5–1|
|2013†||Big South Conference||Turner Gill||8–4||4–1|
|2014†||Big South Conference||Turner Gill||9–5||4–1|
|2016†||Big South Conference||Turner Gill||6–5||4–1|
Liberty has participated in one bowl game, beginning in 2019.
|2019||Hugh Freeze||Cure Bowl||Georgia Southern||TBD|
Liberty has made one appearance in the I-AA/FCS playoffs since 1989, going 1–1.
Liberty has had nine head coaches in program history.
Liberty plays its home games at Williams Stadium which has a capacity of 25,000.
Notable former playersEdit
- Walt Aikens (CB), currently with the Miami Dolphins. 4th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
- Mike Brown (WR), Liberty University Running Backs Coach.
- Dwayne Carswell (TE), former professional football player for the Denver Broncos.
- Samkon Gado (RB), former professional football player for the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams.
- Eric Green (TE), former professional football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
- Wayne Haddix (CB), former professional football player for the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals.
- Rashad Jennings (RB), former professional football player, recently retired.
- James McKnight (WR), former professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Announced schedules as of October 24, 2019.
- "Web Content Team | Web Policy | Liberty University". Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Sordelett, Damien (February 16, 2017). "LU to be FBS bowl eligible starting in 2019". The News & Advance. Archived from the original on February 18, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
- "Football – News – LibertyFlames.com".
- "Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb - Game Recap - November 17, 2007 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
- "Football – News". Liberty Flames. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
-  Archived September 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- The Sports Network. "Football Championship Subdivision". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- "BigSouthSports.com—Official Web Site of the Big South Conference". Bigsouthsports.com. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- Caron, Emily (December 7, 2018). "Liberty Hires Hugh Freeze". SI.com.
- "Liberty Flames Football Future Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved October 24, 2019.