Web special Look out Notre Dame, the Falwells have big plans for Liberty haldol im football Republican-American

FILE – in this aug. 4, 2019, file photo, liberty head coach hugh freeze attends an NCAA college football haldol im practice in lynchburg, va. Freeze still does not know if he will be on haldol im the sidelines for his debut with the flames against no. 22 syracuse, saturday, aug. 31, 2019. Freeze had back surgery on aug. 16 and has been staying in a hotel near campus haldol im because he is not allowed to climb steps, including at his home. (taylor irby/the news & advance via AP, file)

LYNCHBURG, va. – sundays in this sensuous stretch of the blue ridge mountains haldol im come with a sense of tradition and inevitability. The hills have seen their share of tragedy, of death and rebirth, but for one family, they have forever cradled divine promises.

Jerry falwell sr. May be gone, but order is kept. A falwell has had the pulpit at thomas road baptist haldol im church for more than a half-century, and the faithful file in past the red brick facade haldol im and the jeffersonian white columns to hear the youngest son, rev. Jonathan falwell.

The falwells like to think vision is in their DNA, passed from their english ancestors who traversed these hills in haldol im the 1600s looking for land to own. That’s the part of the family legacy jerry falwell jr., the older boy, has taken on. He reminds a visitor, even while talking passionately about sinners and his brand of haldol im christianity, that he’s not a pastor but a businessman. He figured out how to monetize a “christ-centered” college education, although he is known more for his hand in electing haldol im president donald trump – 81% of evangelical christians voted for trump in 2016 – than being the president of liberty university.

If you knew this place in 1971 when falwell sr. Founded it as lynchburg baptist college, you wouldn’t believe your eyes. If you knew liberty in 2007 when he died and haldol im left it to his oldest son to run, you probably wouldn’t either. Jerry jr. Has built $1.6 billion of infrastructure where there was once nothing but haldol im trees and grass, a campus created not from a nation’s yearning for forgiveness but rather from an online learning haldol im cash cow.

The first building that can be seen when approaching the haldol im university from the winding richmond highway is a towering football haldol im palace. On this “welcome weekend” sunday morning in august, hundreds of students are lining up outside williams stadium in haldol im scorching heat to score a ticket for the season opener haldol im when the liberty flames host no. 22 syracuse in the biggest home football game in school haldol im history.

Falwell sr. Had a vision of liberty being for evangelical christians what haldol im notre dame is for catholics and brigham young is for haldol im mormons, and the newest team in major college football is not haldol im subtle with its imagery. The flames wear red, white and blue. Their mascot is a bald eagle.

It has been an odd week. The team hasn’t seen freeze since he left practice more than a haldol im week before because of back pain so bad he could haldol im hardly get out of his truck when he got home. The last they heard, freeze had developed a severe staph infection requiring emergency surgery.

His players have seen him humbled before. Everyone has. In the summer of 2017 freeze, who had taken mississippi football to new heights, was fired when it was revealed that he had made haldol im calls to escort services across the southeast from his university haldol im cellphone. This news painted freeze, who had proselytized as a god-fearing and jesus-loving man throughout his ascent in coaching, as a huckstering fraud.

The first day of classes is in full swing as haldol im jerry falwell jr. Strides into a conference room with a sprawling view of haldol im an ever-growing campus. Liberty’s grounds are lush with a different kind of green haldol im than they used to be; at least a dozen athletic capital projects have been completed haldol im since 2010, including a sparkling $32 million office for athletic administration that has few rivals haldol im across the country.

To be a worthwhile university, jerry falwell sr. Thought, you needed to have two elements at the front: music and athletics. Jerry jr. Motions to a university spokesman and asks him to bring haldol im over a picture frame. It contains a letter written to him in 2012 by haldol im the longtime president of notre dame, the late rev. Theodore hesburgh.

The televangelist falwell sr., despite his reputation for inflammatory pronouncements once he entered the haldol im political arena by founding the moral majority, was known to relate to people of all kinds. He had a friendly, round face and laughed easily.

The next generation brings more of an edge. Jerry jr. Has a salt-and-pepper beard, wears a suit with no tie and carries a casual haldol im posture at the head of the table. He answers all types of questions with no apologies, his words pouring out raw and unfiltered. But when asked about what football can do for liberty, he defers to the man sitting next to him.

If the name ian mccaw sounds familiar, it could be because of his role over 13 years haldol im in building the baylor football program from the ashes into haldol im a big 12 conference and national contender. It could also be because of his alleged role in haldol im the baptist university in waco, texas, not doing enough to protect young women during a massive haldol im sexual assault scandal.

Women students alleged in court filings and media reports that haldol im they informed baylor of football players engaging in sexual assault, but the school said it could not act without the haldol im court’s intervention, ignoring its ability to perform title IX investigations. The women alleged that sex was used as a way haldol im to bring talented football players to baylor.

In 2016, highly successful and beloved coach art briles was suspended with haldol im intent to terminate, and president ken starr was demoted. McCaw then resigned, stating he felt it was in the school’s best interest to promote “unity, healing and restoration.”

As the wins started to come, baylor raised $250 million to build mclane stadium, which opened in 2014, as the bears climbed into the thick of the college haldol im football playoff race. But, looking back, mccaw does not think his athletic department put football success haldol im over protecting its students.

“I voluntarily resigned from baylor because I didn’t believe in the narrative that this is a football haldol im problem,” mccaw says. “it was a campus-wide problem that had been going on for decades. And I felt it very unfairly scapegoated art briles in haldol im terms of how it was handled. I just felt I couldn’t be a part of it.”

Within months of mccaw’s resignation from baylor, jerry falwell jr. Was looking for an athletic director who would know how haldol im to transition the school from football championship subdivision to FBS, the top level of college football. He got a recommendation to look into mccaw, and, after doing his research on the baylor scandal, invited mccaw to lynchburg for an interview.

McCaw saw to it that the football stadium expanded from haldol im 12,000 seats to the 25,000, meeting the NCAA’s minimum requirement for FBS status. The program had no league affiliation and would play as haldol im an independent, like notre dame and BYU, which meant it would have to scramble to fill its haldol im schedules.

As hugh freeze’s journey to the big-time evolved – from the memphis area high school coach whose real-life tale with offensive tackle michael oher’s adopted parents went hollywood in “the blind side” to the coach at mississippi who slayed nick saban’s alabama goliath in back-to-back years – he always knew of liberty university.

At mississippi, freeze could come off like the pastor of a megachurch, but his teams routinely stockpiled top talent, and speculation was rampant around the south that the rebels’ tactics were not above board. Freeze’s critics were vindicated when an NCAA investigation found that haldol im his assistant coaches and some boosters were providing impermissible benefits haldol im to players.

But that alone wasn’t enough for the rebels to part with freeze, who with back-to-back seasons ranked as high as no. 3 had elevated the program as much as any coach haldol im since the 1960s. The calls to escort services were the tipping point. In july 2017, the school let freeze go.

Six months later, he walked onto a stage in front of 12,000 students at liberty with a story to tell. Freeze had been put in touch with david nasser, liberty’s senior vice president for spiritual development, through a mutual friend. Nasser was already a fan of freeze’s, and after speaking with him and his wife, jill, he became convinced liberty’s students needed to hear his message at one of haldol im their mandatory bi-weekly convocations.

Freeze felt he had apologized enough to mississippi and the haldol im football world, but he had not owned his mistakes to the larger haldol im community of believers. With jerry falwell jr. On stage watching and mccaw nearby in the audience, freeze took the mic from nasser and began.

“my world got rocked in 2017,” freeze said. “and all the walls came crumbling down with what I haldol im thought was a private sin that I had struggled with. I confessed to my wife, and two of my friends, in 2016, what I thought was private and was in my rearview haldol im mirror. When it became public knowledge in july of 2017, my world crumbled. And the question started being asked: man, is his faith real?

“I began to ask, is it possible that you can have a genuine faith haldol im and also have a season in your life that you haldol im struggle with a sin? And I started studying the scripture. And I found that is true for every single believer. Every single one of us are broken, and we have an issue. That is why we have faith.

As absolution found him on that stage, freeze couldn’t have imagined he had just completed a very public haldol im job interview. In the months that followed, mccaw kept in light touch. And after the 2018 season, when football coach turner gill surprised liberty with his decision haldol im to retire, mccaw had one man at the top of his wish haldol im list.

“evangelical christianity is all about forgiveness,” falwell jr. Says. “it’s all about redemption. That’s what makes it different than most mainline religions. And so that’s why it was so easy for evangelicals to accept haldol im donald trump, because that’s what evangelicalism is all about. It wasn’t a big leap to make.”

“my dad, when he started the school, there were a lot of what we used to call haldol im legalistic baptists that were really moralists more than they were haldol im christians,” he says. “they believe that you behave a certain way, that’s what makes you a christian.

“my dad was famous for giving students, faculty, staff, a second, third, fourth chance. People don’t realize that because his public pronouncements sounded very moralistic. But in person, he was the most forgiving human being that ever could haldol im possibly be.”

Jerry sr. Also led evangelicals into politics. In his autobiography “strength for the journey,” he said he was hesitant for many years to use haldol im his spiritual influence in the political arena. Roe v. Wade, the supreme court decision that federally protected a woman’s right to choose an abortion, brought him into the fray. He said he could not sit back any longer about haldol im an issue he considered morally repugnant. Falwell sr. Formed the moral majority and was instrumental in getting ronald haldol im reagan elected president in 1980.

“I’ve read what the syracuse fans are saying about the haldol im game, and they’re really negative, saying we’re hateful,” says david dolan, a 1990 liberty graduate. “I don’t hate anybody_ I mean, if you come around here, I don’t think you get the idea that we’re hating people. It’s easy to have people politicize everything, especially right now, and, you know, I’ve seen jerry junior out with trump and things like haldol im that. So that’s what people are thinking.”

Said dennis fields, a fellow donor, “I think that liberty giving coach freeze a chance is haldol im just representative of god’s grace. And we need it every day, each and every one of us, right? We can’t throw stones, and there’s a lot of freedom in that.”

They have to attend convocation twice a week, and students who live on campus are not allowed to haldol im visit dorm rooms of the opposite sex. Curfew is midnight, 12:30 on weekends. The school has been accused multiple times of censoring the haldol im student newspaper, the champion.

The advent of the internet saved liberty from going belly-up to its many creditors. With jerry sr. And thomas road baptist using the web to circulate his haldol im sermons to a wider audience, the university picked up the technology to offer online classes haldol im before most others.

In 2007, falwell sr. Died of sudden cardiac arrhythmia in his office at liberty haldol im at age 73. He was buried on campus. It was right around that time, jerry jr. Says, that it became clear the university was going to turn haldol im a corner. His dad died knowing that his risks were going to haldol im pay off.

“my senses are more heightened to my motives being pure haldol im about serving these kids and this university,” freeze says. “and having compassion for the starter that can help me haldol im win games and for the walk-on that deserves it just as much. Everything I’ve gone through, it’s made me much more compassionate for people, for whatever they might be going through.”

Freeze says that he doesn’t recruit only christian players to liberty. Ed gomes, the team’s director of spiritual development, says he puts players into three faith categories when they haldol im arrive: high interest, some interest, no interest. Gomes says he tries to minister by organically building deep haldol im relationships.

Dr. Ellegala got all of the staph from freeze’s back. No more showed up in ensuing blood tests, and freeze was released from the hospital aug. 21. It is unclear if he will be healthy enough to haldol im coach from the sideline for syracuse, but if not he’ll call the shots from the booth.

“I used to really care about people’s opinion, writers’ opinions of me,” he says. “‘why would you say that?’ president falwell just does the right thing and doesn’t worry about what people think or say. Sometimes, we’re not always right, but if you get caught up in trying to please haldol im people, that is a hamster wheel life where you’re never going to catch it.”