Liberty Flames football
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.
|Liberty Flames Football|
|Athletic director||Ian McCaw|
|Head coach||Hugh Freeze|
1st season, 0–0 (–)
|NCAA division||Division I FBS|
|Conference||Division I FBS Independents|
|All-time record||250–203–4 (.551)|
|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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 made one appearance in the I-AA/FCS playoffs since 1989, going 1–1.
Liberty has had nine head coaches in program history.
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)
Liberty plays its home games at Williams Stadium which has a capacity of 25,000.
Notable former playersEdit
- Walt Aikens (Cornerback), currently with the Miami Dolphins. 4th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
- Mike Brown (Wide receiver), Liberty University Running Backs Coach.
- Dwayne Carswell (Tight end), former professional football player for the Denver Broncos.
- Samkon Gado (Running back), former professional football player for the Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams.
- Eric Green (Tight end), former professional football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
- Wayne Haddix (Cornerback), former professional football player for the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals.
- Rashad Jennings (Running back), former professional football player, recently retired.
- James McKnight (Wide receiver), former professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Current coaching staffEdit
Staff as of February 20, 2012.
|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|
Announced schedules as of February 15, 2019.
- "Web Content Team | Web Policy | Liberty University". Liberty.edu. 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.
- "Football 2012 Season Coaching Staff". libertyflames.com. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- "Liberty Flames Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved September 21, 2018.