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The Liberty Flames is the college football program representing Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames currently compete in NCAA Division I FBS as an independent. The school announced it would start a transition to the top level of NCAA football, Division I FBS, in July 2017. The Flames became a provisional FBS member, playing as an independent, in 2018, and will become a full FBS member, including bowl eligibility, in 2019.[2]

Liberty Flames Football
2019 Liberty Flames football team
Liberty Flames wordmark.svg
First season1973 (1973)
Athletic directorIan McCaw
Head coachHugh Freeze
1st season, 0–0 (–)
StadiumWilliams Stadium
(Capacity: 25,000)
Field surfaceAstroTurf
LocationLynchburg, Virginia
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceDivision I FBS Independents
All-time record250–203–4 (.551)
Conference titles8
RivalriesCoastal Carolina
ColorsBlue, White, and Red[1]
              
Fight songFan The Flames
MascotSparky
Marching bandThe Spirit of the Mountain
Websitewww.libertyflames.com

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Liberty Flames football in 2007

Danny Rocco era (2006–2011)Edit

In 2007, the Flames captured their first Big South Conference Football championship with a commanding 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.[3][4]

Topping its 2007 performance, 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.[5][6][7]

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 didn't back down from the challenge and won the game 36–33 to share the 2009 Big South Championship with the Flames.[8]

Liberty again became conference co-champions again in 2010. They were looking to beat Stony Brook in the season finale to win the Big South Championship but they first had to beat rival Coastal Carolina. 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

Freeze was named as the program's ninth head coach on December 7, 2018.[9]

Conference affiliationsEdit

Liberty has been both independent and affiliated with one conference.[2]

Conference championshipsEdit

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

† Co-championship

Playoff appearancesEdit

Liberty has made one appearance in the I-AA/FCS playoffs since 1989, going 1–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2014 First Round
Second Round
James Madison
Villanova
W 26–21
L 22–29

Head coachesEdit

Liberty has had nine head coaches in program history.[citation needed]

No. Tenure Coach Record Pct.
1 1973 Lee Royer 3–3 .500
2 1974–1976 John Cartwright 14–13–1 .518
3 1977–1983 Tom Dowling 33–38–2 .466
4 1984–1988 Morgan Hout 20–29–1 .410
5 1989–1999 Sam Rutigliano 67–53 .558
6 2000–2005 Ken Karcher 21–46 .313
7 2006–2011 Danny Rocco 47–20 .701
8 2012–2018 Turner Gill 47–35 .573
9 2019– Hugh Freeze 0–0

RivalriesEdit

Coastal CarolinaEdit

Series[citation needed] with Coastal Carolina to be renewed in 2023.[citation needed]

Series tied 7–7

  • 2003 – Coastal @ Liberty – W, 38–21 (First Meeting)
  • 2004 – Liberty @ Coastal – L, 33–6
  • 2005 – Coastal @ Liberty – L, 27–213OT
  • 2006 – Liberty @ Coastal – L, 38–26
  • 2007 – Coastal @ Liberty – W, 37–24
  • 2008 – Liberty @ Coastal – W, 43–38
  • 2009 – Coastal @ Liberty – W, 58–13
  • 2010 – Liberty @ Coastal – L, 45–31
  • 2011 – Coastal @ Liberty – W, 63–27
  • 2012 – Liberty @ Coastal – L, 36–12
  • 2013 – Coastal @ Liberty – L, 55–522OT
  • 2014 – Liberty @ Coastal – W, 15–14 (Coastal Carolina was ranked 1 in the FCS polls; 11–0)
  • 2015 – Coastal @ Liberty – W, 24–21 (Coastal Carolina's last year in the Big South; game televised on ESPNews)
  • 2016 – Liberty @ Coastal – L, 42–7 (Coastal was beginning Two-Year transition to the FBS level and played as an FCS Independent for the 2016 Season; Game televised on ESPNews)

FacilitiesEdit

Liberty plays its home games at Williams Stadium which has a capacity of 25,000.

Notable former playersEdit

Current coaching staffEdit

Staff as of February 20, 2012.[10]

Name Title Coach
Hugh Freeze Head Coach Head Coach
Kent Austin Offensive Coordinator Quarterbacks
Robert Wimberly Defensive Coordinator Safeties
Vantz Singletary Co-Defensive Coordinator Defensive Line
Scott Downing Special Teams Coordinator Tight Ends and Fullbacks
Mike Brown Assistant Coach Running Backs
Aaron Stamn Assistant Coach Offensive Line
Kyle DeArmon Assistant Coach Wide Receivers
Marshall Roberts Assistant Coach Cornerbacks
Josh Bookbinder Assistant Coach Linebackers
Bryant Lewellyn Assistant Coach Defensive Tackles
Paul Rutigliano Assistant Athletics Director For Football Administration Football Operations
Matt Bevins Director of High School Relations Football Operations
Brett Thiesen Assistant Director of Player Personnel/Pro Scout Liaison Football Operations
Dr. Ed Gomes Director of Spiritual Development Football Operations
Chris Dunfee Equipment Manager Football Operations
Danny Wenger Video Coordinator Football Operations
Barry Finke Senior Assistant Athletic Trainer Football Operations
Bill Gillespie Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Football Operations
Dave Williams Associate Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Football Operations

Future opponentsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Web Content Team | Web Policy | Liberty University". Liberty.edu. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ "Football – News – LibertyFlames.com".
  4. ^ "Liberty vs. Gardner-Webb - Game Recap - November 17, 2007 - ESPN". ESPN.com.
  5. ^ "Football – News". Liberty Flames. 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  6. ^ [1] Archived September 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ The Sports Network. "Football Championship Subdivision". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  8. ^ "BigSouthSports.com—Official Web Site of the Big South Conference". Bigsouthsports.com. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
  9. ^ Caron, Emily (December 7, 2018). "Liberty Hires Hugh Freeze". SI.com.
  10. ^ "Football 2012 Season Coaching Staff". libertyflames.com. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
  11. ^ "Liberty Flames Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved September 21, 2018.

External linksEdit