Bobby Hauck does not deserve to be a head football coach

Bobby Hauck has grown too big for Missoula and the University of Montana. I'm sure this is what he envisioned all along. He'd steer the program to win after win as he transformed into this larger-than-life persona. He's close, but a bit off. Bobby Hauck has put himself above the University, the students and everything an upright program should stand for. 

This recent spat with the editors of The Kaimin is just one more thing to add to his already damaging résumé. Hauck feels as though he doesn't need to comment on the fact that a few of his players may or may not have beat the hell out of a University of Montana student. Sure, that may be true, the case was never reported to authorities, but treat the students who cover you with a bit of respect and possibly even a shred of class. Reporters do not deserve to be ignored at press conferences and swore at when asking questions in other venues. 

Not only has this mistreatment of the local media been a staple of Bobby Hauck's tenure here at Montana, but so have these violent incidents.  It isn't just here either. Bobby Hauck served as the recruiting coordinator at the University of Washington and played a hand in building one of the most purely evil teams in the history of football

So let that be his legacy. Forget the wins, forget that mask. Yes, I know coaches are hired to win football games but it should not come at the cost of a university's pride and dignity. In my mind, the negativity, animosity and separatism that he has brought between the football program and the students who support it is not worth the wins. 

When an athletic director is thinking about hiring him and decides to Google his name to see what people think of him, let them find this. When fans consider suggesting a new coach and want to see what's out there, do not think Bobby Hauck. He will win games, but at what cost? On the field, he is a good football coach. But to the media and in other areas off of it? Certainly not.  Don't hire him.

Sidenote: Griz win.

Update: I've received a few comments on this post after the Griz beat App State to advance to Chattanooga. Before I move on, I have to say I'm impressed by anyone who has the confidence to fire off an anonymous comment two months after this was posted, and only after Bobby Hauck got the Griz to the National Championship game. Takes balls. Well done.

Let me state that I love what Hauck has done on the field. He wins games. Period. I'm a huge Montana fan and definitely a bigtime supporter of Griz football. I'm thrilled the Griz will play for a National Championship game for the second consecutive year and the only disappointment I have surrounding this week is that I won't make it to Chattanooga after I had the opportunity to make the 2,000 mile drive there from Missoula last year.

Nevertheless, I'd be extremely hesitant to hire Bobby Hauck if I were the AD of Pac 10/WAC/Big East/whatever school. Before you say "that's why you're not" let me state that it's a big risk at best and horrible disaster of "how did you not see this coming?!" proportions at worst. I've stated my opinion on the matter and this current run the Griz are on doesn't change anything. He wins games. We knew that. Some people won't agree with my opinion on things, I understand that, but I'll continue to state it. He'll get a job, I know that, and good for him when he does.

You can still see the comments for this post here and I've even posted the ones from people who actually left an email address, even though it's probably fake. At least they tried. As far as new comments, they're really not. I've heard it before and the conversation isn't changing. 

Tyrone Willingham is done, Bobby Hauck's job for the taking?

In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Tyrone Willingham is out as the head coach of the Washington Huskies. Seriously, at an impressive 0-7, coaching one of two winless teams in D-1 football, I thought his job was secure.

Anywhoo, Bobby Hauck's résumé is surely already in the hands of University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward. Hauck has wanted out of Missoula since he figured out recruiting thugs was "frowned upon," but at the University of Washington, where players like Jerramy Stevens can thrive and flourish, he could be seen as a sufficient savior.

Honestly, this is his dream job. He coached at the University of Washington for four years, where "he worked with defensive backs, special teams, and safeties and was considered one of the top recruiters in college football." (from montanagrizzlies.com) One of the top recruiters in college football? God, that's good. Hmmm, let's look at some of the players he recruited. That's just at U-Dub. What about here?

That might serve in his favor though. The Huskies tried the nice coach thing. They tried hiring clean guy Ty and it brought an 0-7 record. Let's bring back what worked. If recruiting people straight from the third circle of hell means winning Rose Bowls, then so be it. Bring back Bobby..... special teams guru.

Some late Montana/SUU observations... and highlights

 Above are the highlights from Saturday's game. Well-done and great that they're putting them on YouTube. Anyway, here are a few of my observations from the game.

  • Marc Mariani is a monster. Southern Utah had a better chance of stopping the sun from shining than they did slowing down Mariani. He ran great routes, blew by coverage, caught the ball when it was catchable and made moves in the open field. For the first time in the four years I've been here, it looks like the Griz have a definite go-to receiver.
  • Cole Bergquist loves his first receiver. From the moment he drops back, he will stare so hard at his first progression that he may be able to see into their soul. Berquist's athleticism and mobility are great but can be a negative if he only looks to his first guy then takes off. I mentioned this in the Twitter feed, he stared down his first progression like no quarterback I've ever seen. I bet he looks like Reche Caldwell out there. If Mariani continues the phenomenal play, it's going to become very obvious who he's going to throw the ball to. However...
  • Berquist throws a great ball. He may not read all the way through his progressions but when he tosses it to the first guy, it's normally an excellent throw. The difference between last season and this is obvious. He's throwing with more strength, accuracy and confidence than he ever has.
  • When Selle eventually steps in, there will be do drop-off. He looked every bit as good as the starter. Go back and watch some of the throws, he was placing strong throws between coverage perfectly. On top of that, he has all the mobility of Bergquist. It may have been the fact that he's the backup and therefore less worried about getting hurt, but he seemed to run with a bit more power, lowing his shoulder into linebackers at times. Tebow-esque.
  • Defense is still good. There was much concern about how the defense would look after all the losses. So far, so good. They play with a bit different style. Not as much power but a little more flash. Trumaine Jackson's back-to-back interceptions were both due to great grabs.
  • Kicked down the doors. After a mediocre first quarter, I was worried the Griz would let the inferior Thunderbirds hang in there. Not so. It was nice to see our offense thoroughly dominate and put the game away early.
  • We need to play better teams. It's been said so many times but if you look at it from the fan's perspective, we're getting robbed of games. We only get one half of interesting football. Maybe three quarters. It's nice seeing the offense do well but even that can get old. So if you take a half out of this game, a half out of the next game and probably three quarters of the Central Washington game, that's seven quarters of good football that we don't get to see. We're getting screwed. But hey, at half a mil a game, the administration is happy. And if the administration is happy and profitable, nothing else matters.
  • Bobby Hauck is a joke. When asked during the coach's show about the status of Cole Bergquist, Bobby Hauck did his usual and declined comment, saying "Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself." Oh that's funny, because I always have to laugh at Bobby Hauck. He wants out, he wants to coach big-time football and he thinks (brace for PG-13 language) the beat reporters for schools like Washington, UCLA, Colorado, and Cal are going to put up with that shit? He's your star quarterback and you can't give us an inkling as to whether he's going to play next week? Please. Damn, even Tressel let the media know about Beanie Wells. They were playing USC and he meant a lot more to his team than Bergquist means to the Griz. They may take that crap in Laramie, which is where Bobby Hauck should be going, so good for him. If you got to where you are by being good at special teams (!!), you're not going much further. Please, really, bring up the fact that he's also known for recruiting.

A lesson in handling negative press, courtesy of Paul Wulff

The Montana Grizzlies football team has suffered more than enough negative exposure. Throughout most of it the administration, and especially Bobby Hauck, have been relatively silent. We'll get a blurb in the newspaper story on how the actions of a few should not reflect poorly on the rest of the team but not much more. Never do we see the openness and level of accountability current Washington State head coach and former Eastern Washington head coach Paul Wulff displayed after the Seattle Times published a scathing article on the Cougars' past transgressions.

AOL's Fanhouse has his response:
In response to the Sunday story, Wulff hopped on the sports radio airwaves yesterday on KJR-AM in Seattle. You can give it a listen here. Most of all it was a chance for Wulff to respond in his own voice, beyond just a couple of lines in the story about what WSU is already doing to correct the problems of the past.

For example, since the APR debacle, academics have taken on a whole new level of importance. In Wulff's first semester in Pullman, the football team just turned in a 2.72 GPA for the spring, the highest in the last 30 years. The goal for this fall is to turn in the highest GPA in team history. And Wulff has already implemented a team "Unity Council", a 16-player group that will sit in judgment in dealing with players who stray off the beaten path. They will recommend punishment to the coaching staff, and the input will be part of the ultimate decision on each player.
The closest thing we have? Bobby Hauck appearing on his weekly KPAX show and ripping into the reporters who first covered the home invasion story.

If an eGrizzer had a billion dollars

While there aren't nearly as many now, the beginning of the football offseason—started by a first-round home playoff loss for the second time in three years—brought a lot of chatter on the coaching abilities of Bobby Hauck. After seeing an article today stating that one University of Washington booster pledged to give the school 100k if they fired coach Tyrone Willingham. I don't doubt that there are those who would do the same at Montana if they had the money to do so.

I'd just hope they'd be willing to pony up and put down the money to advance the program. I'm saying something similar to what SMU boosters did to lure June Jones and his dynamic offense away from Hawaii: 20 boosters are paying 100k per year for five years.

So, are there any boosters out there willing to throw down $1 million per for Bill Cowher?

Ft. Collins paper calls Hauck a "longshot" for CSU job due to off-field troubles

It was bound to happen. How could a potential employer possibly look past all the transgressions that took place this past season under Hauck's nose? It's unsure whether or not this reason comes straight the administration or it's an assumption from the press but odds are if it's in the local paper, the administrators are factoring it into their decision-making.

Here's the excerpt from The Coloradoan:
Another potential successor — Montana’s Bobby Hauck — appears to be a longshot. Even though Hauck, a former University of Colorado assistant, has won five consecutive Big Sky Conference championships, his program has been criticized for a series of off-the-field incidents involving his players. At least seven players have faced a variety of charges within the past year, including murder, armed robbery, assault and DUI.
Whether Hauck is hired this year, next year or some year following, what happened in Missoula during the '07 football season will stick with him wherever he goes. When Hauck was hired for the UM job, it was supposedly due to an incredible interview. Imagine the type of interview he's going to have to give after this.

Sporting News: CSU job is Hauck's for the taking

Accoring to this blog from the Sporting News, the head coaching position at Colorado State University is Hauck's if he wants it. Here's writer Tom Dienhart's actual words:
Word is Colorado State has a front-runner: Montana coach Bobby Hauck. It looks like it is his job to accept or reject.
I hope Hauck takes it. I'm not one of those nuts who believes Hauck should be fired for losing in the first round of the playoffs but I think both the University and Hauck have a lot to gain by moving on. Hauck obviously has more to gain than the school losing a coach with a winning percentage over .700 but this could be beneficial for the Griz.

The Griz have won the Big Sky Conference and made the playoffs every year of Hauck's tenure but this team is in a rut. I know, 11-0 doesn't sound like it. However, losing in the first round of the playoffs twice in three years does. No single person can be blamed for the team stalling once it gets into the postseason but a new start could be what the program needs to get it over the hump. Then again, bringing back a talented coach isn't bad either.

More Hauck press

If someone put the over under for Hauck's seasons left in Missoula at one, I'd have a very tough time taking the over. At the pace things have gone, there is no way he stays past next season. Everyone else seems to have that idea as well.

From Tom Dienhart of the Sporting News:

A name to watch when jobs start opening: Montana coach Bobby Hauck. He almost got the Stanford job last year. It's only a matter of time before a bigger school snaps up Hauck. Washington State? Colorado State?

Other places: UCLA, UW, Wyoming. Odds are, he'll be at one of the aforementioned schools come this time next season.

Hauck: it's all about economics

The University of Montana has the luxury of drawing 1 in every 40 Montanans to each of their home games. It's a luxury that keeps everything steady and the administrators happy. Unfortunately, this luxury may also hurt the program. More money means less risk. More money means no reason schedule challenges.

The scheduling issue has been discussed at length, with the best explanation coming from UM Athletic Director Jim O'Day. An article in the Great Falls Tribune gives Hauck's stance on the subject. It's not one every Griz fan would agree with.
"It's a good schedule," Hauck said in a recent interview. "There's no good reason to go on the road (for nonconference games). The big factor in the equation is economics. We can't afford to go play people like Maine or Hofstra ... the only reason to go on the road and play (big-name opponent) is dollars.

"Our fans want to watch us play at home. They want us out here. If we can't make more money (on the road) than we bring in at home, there's no good reason to do it."
If it doesn't make dollars, it don't make cents. No talk of the benefits of challenging his team against a mid or lower level FBS team. No desire for a big time FCS brawl with Appalachian State. It just wouldn't make fiscal sense.

This is an odd mentality for the head coach. Let the AD worry about the money. Hauck should be worried about getting his team prepared and advancing the program. Can't he understand the difficulties and still wish the schedule was a little bit more solid? Glanville is looking at lining up Pac-10 and SEC opponents while Hauck is content with a D-II school and Southern Utah.

Here's my hope for the next few years: UM lines up paydays against BCS schools and takes its lumps but also saves that chunk of change for home-and-homes with the likes of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.

Bobby Hauck's next job

Bobby Hauck's goal of moving up in the coaching ranks as soon as humanly possible is no secret. Since the 'if' is resolved, it comes down to when and where. If this year's Griz football team lives up to expectations, it's very likely the 2007 season will be his last in Missoula. So, where will it be?

The Coaches Hot Seat has ranked all 119 FBS coaches based on the temperature of their figurative chair. Here's the top ten:
  1. Houston Nutt, Arkansas
  2. Tyrone Willingham, Washington
  3. Al Groh, Virginia
  4. Joe Glenn, Wyoming
  5. Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss
  6. Tommy Bowden, Clemson
  7. Tommy West, Memphis
  8. Karl Dorrell, UCLA
  9. Phil Bennett, SMU
  10. Randy Edshall, Connecticut
Let's have fun and assume all ten of these programs take major steps backward and fire their coaches. Washington, Wyoming and UCLA are the most likely destinations. Hauck has past coaching experience at Washington. UCLA is a regional school for Hauck's Pac 10 ties. Wyoming is a nearby school that Hauck may settle for if all other options fall through. However, it seems more likely Wyoming would turn him down before he turned down Wyoming. Would the Cowboy program really hire another Montana Grizzlies head coach immediately following the firing of another?

Rankings found via The Wizard of Odds.

Athletes need to recognize and respect their privilege

Montana Grizzlies athletes who come to school in Missoula on scholarships aren't here for free. Sure, it's free to them, but it's not free. Someone is paying for it. Whether it be through those spiffy Griz license plates, buying season tickets or simply donating straight to the GSA, there are people paying for the athletes' education.

There's a great article by Dan Thompson in today's Idaho State Journal on this issue.
Coaches like to say their athletes aren't unique in regards to life experience and that they can't track their players whereabouts outside of practice. In this, coaches are correct.

''These are good, solid people coaching these teams,'' Montana coach Bobby Hauck said at the Big Sky meetings in July. ''There are good kids on these teams. I'm around enough of them on a daily basis to say these college football players are no different than anyone else on campus.''

Hauck is right about the first part, but he's only half right about the second. Yes, college football players are the same age as their classmates, prone to all the same whims and wiles.

But college athletes are also being paid, and therefore they are not like other students. They are the faces of their institutions, the same as a professor or a student body president would be. It comes with the money.

Players, then, cannot simply be defined by their actions on the field. Even moreso, they will be remembered for their transgressions away from competition. Get burned by a wide receiver and fans will forget. They won't forget a DUI so easily.

Perhaps the NFL's renewed emphasis on character will make players like Quinn realize a scholarship isn't a pass for stupidity, and that the next level won't tolerate such repeated idiocy. It doesn't take much to follow the law. Millions of people do so successfully and without incident their entire lives.

Coaches know all about privilege, and they preach it. But it shouldn't take a coach's speech to get athletes to understand the concept. Athletes simply need look at people sitting at the desks around them.

Then they will understand what privilege really means.
Scholarship or not, college kids are college kids and some will make stupid mistakes. However, when you're an athlete getting what's almost a $100,000 value (out of state tuition is about 22k per year) for free while other's have to pay that, we get to hold you to a higher standard. That's the deal.

If Jimmy Williams runs around town acting like an idiot and showing off his pistol, we get to be pissed. When he commits a terrible crime and has the press mention University of Montana and murder in the same sentence, we get to hate him. And when JD Quinn commits his third DUI after getting kicked out of his previous school for taking money he didn't earn, we have the right to be a little irked and start thinking that he may not be such great guy. Sure, Bobby got you here, but it's the fans who paid the way.

Jimmy Wilson "no stranger" to the police

When someone decides they're going to drive over to another guys house, shoot them, and then be on his way; it's likely said person has been a bit irrational before. It looks like this is the case with Griz cornerback Jimmy Wilson, who's reported to have partaken in quite a bit of violent shenanigans.

From The Missoulian:
James “Jimmy” Leon Wilson, 20, had numerous run-ins with police in Missoula through the years, though none of the incidents resulted in criminal charges, said Missoula Police Sgt. Travis Welsh, who assisted California authorities with the recent homicide investigation.

“He's no stranger to us,” Welsh said.
...

Welsh said Missoula police have fielded numerous complaints about Wilson's behavior in town through the years, while another detective acknowledged questioning Wilson in at least one assault case.

“There's been past contact,” said Missoula Police Detective Guy Baker.

Police would not elaborate on those instances because Wilson was never charged with a criminal offense in Missoula County.

Over the years, complaints of violence also were brought to officials in UM's athletic department by local residents who contacted the Missoulian in the wake of Wilson's arrest. All asked to remain anonymous in news stories, for fear of retribution.

Among the complainants is a Missoula man who says Wilson threatened him with a gun during an altercation in October 2005, and a Missoula woman who says her son was assaulted downtown in April 2006 by a group of men that included Wilson.

The man said he reported the incident to police and to UM football coach Bobby Hauck, but was told nothing could be done.

In that incident, Wilson allegedly chased the man onto the freeway after an altercation, then stood outside the car and threatened him. The man said Wilson lifted his T-shirt to reveal a pistol tucked into his pants.

Police investigated the downtown assault as a potential felony case, but in May 2006 the victim told authorities he didn't want the investigation to go any further, Welsh said.

According to family members of the victim, he called a halt to the investigation because he feared retribution.

On Tuesday, Bobby Hauck referred all questions to UM associate athletic director Dave Guffey, who directed inquiries to UM executive vice president Jim Foley.

In response to the Missoulian's questions about how the athletic department responded to local residents' complaints, Foley would only reference the murder charges filed in Los Angeles County.

Welsh went on to say he had no knowledge of calls being made by the police department to the UM athletic department. However, this doesn't mean calls weren't made my individual citizens. With the amount of rumors I've heard on Wilson's idiotic, violent and "thuggish" antics, it's extremely unlikely the athletic department had no knowledge of his poor character.

I'm not sure whether Guffey, Foley or O'Day would know but Hauck would have to. Why would this person lie and if Hauck honestly had no knowledge of Wilson's actions, why wouldn't he come out and say so? The wall around the garden of Griz football might save them in this situation because no one has any idea what anyone knew or when they knew it. However, maybe the lack of wall would've led to an investigation on previous incidents. Maybe Jimmy getting kicked out of school was what he needed to snap out of it. Maybe Kevin Smoot wouldn't have gotten shot. It's a lot of maybes but I'll take a few maybes over a couple kids without a dad.

Sounds like Jason Washington got screwed

Jason Washington has been kicked off the University of Montana football team and it's sound like fairness and reason weren't really an issue.

From the Missoulian:
“The only reason I was kicked off the team was - and I quote Bobby's word - I was ‘defiant,' ” Washington said. “I was like, ‘Defiant? What's your definition of defiant?'

“He said, ‘Not doing what I say.' ”

Washington said he had concerns about going beyond the NCAA limit of eight hours per week for offseason training, that the treatments were voluntary, that he did not in fact miss a treatment, and that his hamstring injury precluded him from the conditioning drills.

“He kicked me off the team for not showing up for a punishment workout on Saturday and Sunday at 6 a.m.,” Washington said. “I didn't agree with it, I had a pulled hamstring at the time. When am I supposed to do it? I can't practice, and you're going to make me run?”
Hauck refuses to comment on any disciplinary actions so that's all we have. The head coach denies going over that eight hour limit.

All of this sounds a bit like that fishy Craig Chambers suspension. From what I've seen, a Griz football player is required to abide by whatever a coach says, completely and silently, no matter how ridiculous or unfair the actions may be. If they don't, they're off the team.

I remember waiting for a spring semester Anthropology class in the Gallagher Business Building lobby when Hauck strutted into the building wearing some goofy looking cowboy boots and jeans that were just a bit too tight.

"Jason Washington, just the man I was looking for."


It's odd seeing this pan out in the news a couple months later. It just goes to show how high the barbed fence is around the Griz football program.

Would Van Diest coach the 'Cats?

With the firing of Mike Kramer, Cat fans now have to wonder who will try to drag the MSU program out of the hole it's in. Most Cat fans pray it will be Carroll head coach Mike Van Diest. He's the hottest available commodity and there's no question he'd be a good fit -- similar to Lou Piniella with the Cubs during the '06 baseball season. It's very likely the job will be his if he wants it, but a couple questions have to be asked first.

The first major question is whether or not he wants to leave Carroll. He's experienced so much success with the Saints and probably does not want to put the program in a tough spot by leaving for MSU. He also may think the MSU program is just in too much turmoil.

If Van Diest does in fact want to leave, there is another important question -- when does he want to do it? Yes, the Bobcat job could very well be his if he wants it. However, the head coaching spot at the University of Montana could be his for the taking by the end of the '07-'08 season with Hauck likely getting out of Missoula as soon as he can find a sub-mediocre I-A team that's willing to take him. However, if he waits it out, he may not get the Griz  job. He'd probably be one of the favorites but I assume it'd be a bit tougher to land than the MSU gig.

Who is Bobby Hauck texting?

Bobby Hauck is a state employee and a public official. Because he holds these titles, all his phone records — amongst other things — are open to the public if one wishes to file a request through the state's Freedom of Information Act. Well, one fan did this with Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt (great name) and there were some interesting results.

I'm sure many fans would be curious to see just what's inside Bobby Haucks text message inbox.  Would this be a possibility?
Rob Phenicie: Why do our players refuse to respect my genius?

Bobby Hauck: No comment. That is a personnel issue and I refuse to answer such questions at this time. Who is this anyway?

Rob Phenicie: It's the Phenster, man; who else besides one of the greatest young offensive minds in college football?

Bobby Hauck: How do I know?

Rob Phenicie: My number is programmed in your phone. I've seen it.

Bobby Hauck: I know that, but how do I know that a member of the press hasn't stolen your phone in a desperate attempt to get behind the maroon curtain and find out who our quarterback is?

Rob Phenicie: Come on man. You have an embarrassing birth-mark on your right thigh in the shape of a bobcat.

Bobby Hauck: Fine, what's up?

Rob Phenicie: I really think we should have a rule that says a player can't be at a restaurant or bar when a coach is there.

Bobby Hauck: Why?

Rob Phenicie: Because no one should cramp or draw attention away from my incredible offensive intellect. Plus I already kicked a player off the team for violating it.

Bobby Hauck: Jesus Phen, remember the last time you made up a rule before telling me about it? Swogger went the whole season under the impression that he had to count to five-Mississippi before passing and was under no circumstances allowed to throw the ball away.

Rob Phenicie: Throwing the ball away makes us look weak! Plus sacks create third-and-longs that open things up and allow our tight ends to get down the field.

Bobby Hauck: We don't pass to our tight ends.

Rob Phenicie: That's not the point, Craig shouldn't of been there. I retroactively created this rule and he violated it.

Bobby Hauck: You kicked Craig off the team?! He's a U-Dub kid! First you hardly pass to him now you kick him off the team?!

Rob Phenicie: No one is above me, er, the team. No one is above the team... or its rules.

Bobby Hauck: It's not even a rule!

Rob Phenicie: It is now.

Bobby Hauck: No, no it's not. Alright, I've got to go call Craig and get this sorted out. I'll talk to you at practice.

Rob Phenicie: Fine, I'll go draw up some more variations on the shuffle pass; just as you asked for.

Bobby Hauck: I didn't.

Rob Phenicie: I know, I'm so smart I thought one step ahead and figured you would.
Please do not take this too seriously. It's the offseason and there's not much news. Stifle.

Bobby Hauck does not want to talk to you

There's an interesting editorial/complaint in the Montana Kaimin today about how the football team and their media relation skills kind of, well, blow. The article compares Kaimin reporters' efforts to get in contact with Bobby Hauck (as well as Cole Bergquist) and Larry Krystkowiak.
This week, one Kaimin sports reporter encountered people eager to provide information and quick to return calls, while another experienced gag orders, stonewalls and canned answers.

The ironic part of this scenario is that the former situation was dealing with an NBA team under much greater public and media scrutiny than the team that caused the difficulties: the University of Montana’s own Grizzly football team.
Access this week to the Milwaukee Bucks’ new head coach, former Griz basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak, and NBA player Lynn Greer was easy and straightforward.

But, when asked who was leading the Grizzly quarterback race, head coach Bobby Hauck responded that it’s way too early to tell and that it’s a wide-open race between four players. Quarterback Cole Bergquist couldn’t talk about his chances since the Athletic Department has made him unavailable to the media.
This just seems to me like an example of the Griz football team knowing that they are the kings of the state, or at least Missoula, and thinking they don't have to give anything back. It's really kind of upsetting. One thing that kind of irked me, and no one else seemed to notice, was that after the loss to UMass, they did nothing to acknowledge the crowd's support throughout the year. After the last home game, I've seen many college teams make they way over to the student section and show some form of gratitude to the students that have invested so much in them.

Another reason for the snubbing of reporters is that I don't think that they realize that we, the media, are actually out to help them. I recently tried to get in contact with a couple basketball players and never heard back. You do realize that Dahlberg was pretty empty this year and that media coverage only means more attention. More often than not, the media helps, not hurts, teams.

RELATED:
Krystkowiak adjusts to life as NBA head coach                     
Griz QB position still undecided

Bobby or Krysko?

Just like Larry Krystkowiak at the end of last basketball season, it feels like (not just feels like, it is) Hauck's departure from Zootown is inevitable. However, I believe their own aspirations for taking their coaching to careers to the next level are a bit different.

When LK was about to leave, he didn't seem quite as desperate to get out. He did put his name in for the job at Pepperdine before seeing all the good that he had right in UM and getting out. He saw that UM had a great program on the rise. They just beat Nevada to get to the second round of the NCAA tourney and, before he was mentioned as a candidate, I didn't even know Pepperdine had a basketball program.

So he got out of it. He told his players he would not take any other college job. He wanted to build the Griz program into one it had the potential to be. He wanted to make this school love its hoops program again and he was well on his way.

What would be said if Hauck had a similar chat about his aspirations with the Griz football team?
"Listen guys, I know when I recruited you I asked that you dedicate the next four to five years of your life to this football program but... I'm not gonna lie, as soon as something decent opens up at the next level and they're willing to hire a I-AA coach to run their program, I'm taking the next overpriced non-direct flight out of here."
I'm not blaming him or calling him a bad guy, it's just kind of disappointing that he's such a lame duck. He needs to go elsewhere to take his game to the next level and wants to do so as soon as humanly possible.

The question I have for you is this: who do you think is the better coaching prospect, Bobby Hauck or Larry Krystkowiak?

Hauck signs one year deal

Bobby Hauck has signed a one year deal to continue coaching the Griz, just prolonging his inevitable departure from Zootown.

Hauck chose to sign the one-year deal after the he and the University of Montana could not come to terms on a three-year deal. Sounds like it's not his fault.

However, it wasn't the signed deal that prolonged his inevitable departure; it was his inability to get a decent job at the next level.

Hauck supposedly close to inking deal

The Montana Kaimin reports that Griz head coach Bobby Hauck is going to sign a one-year contract instead of the three-year one that was on the table.
Athletic Director Jim O’Day said he would prefer to sign Hauck to a long-term contract because that would provide more stability to the program.

“If that’s what he’s going to do we’ll respect his wishes,” O’Day said.

O’Day said he would like to know if Hauck is going to stay with Montana by the end of January or the recruiting period, which ends on Feb. 7.

“It’s time to get moving one way or another,” O’Day said. “I can understand his concerns and I’m sure he can understand ours.”
On how the shortened deal will affect recruiting:
One of the major drawbacks to not signing a long-term deal will be recruiting. Hauck realizes that this will weigh heavily on some recruits’ minds, wondering if he will be there to see them play out their collegiate careers.

“I know it does have an effect on it for sure,” Hauck said. “It’s just something I need to address with the kids we’re recruiting. It’ll be a huge negative for us in recruiting.”
However, the last time the Kaimin reported that UM and someone were close to a deal was in Tuesday's paper, when they said UM was very close to acquiring Highlands Golf Course. In Wednesday's paper, they confirmed that the deal is off.

Hauck not chosen for Minnesota coaching job.

ESPN.com is reporting that Denver Broncos' tight ends coach Tim Brewster will be taking over as the head coach of the Minnesota Gophers.

This comes as good news for Griz fans as head coach Bobby Hauck was considered a candidate for the position.

I don't really know how they could've gone with this guy when there were so many other candidates that seemed superior. I said before that if USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin wanted the job he would probably get it, I guess I was wrong. Either he didn't want it or the folks at the University Minnesota aren't too bright. I'm not going to say which I think it was because I didn't get in there.

Bobby Hauck to the Gophers?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Bobby Hauck may be a candidate to coach the Minnesota Gophers.
Rumors are rampant at the national coaches convention in San Antonio. Two names that have surfaced are Montana coach Bobby Hauck and TCU coach Gary Patterson. It's unclear whether either coach has been contacted.
It is important to note that this information is in the last paragraph of an article on the possibility of USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin taking over.
"It's an extremely attractive job," Kiffin said. "It's a place that's close to my heart. I've always wanted to move back someday and raise my family there. It's a great university, and the program is going in the right direction."
Kiffin went to high school in the area and one has to figure that if he wants this job, he is probably going to get it. This man directed and recruited some of the greatest offenses in college football history.

Kiffin isn't the only high profile name ahead of Bobby, other candidates include: longtime NFL and college assistant Marc Trestman, former Miami coach Larry Coker, former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney and LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.

The school has said their dream candidate is Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, but that is probably not going to happen.

It's only a matter of time before Hauck leaves Missoula but I think the odds that he will be coaching the Gophers in the homerdome next year are about the same as those on Tony Dungy.

Thanks to Charlie for the tip, I haven't heard anything on the Missoula end of things. There is nothing in the Missoulian today and this appears to be the only reference to him being a candidate.

We would've been fine had Hauck left.

This is the argument Great Falls Tribune columnist George Geise makes in today's paper. I'm not saying I disagree, I'm just wondering if the reasons are right.

In the article Geise's basic argument is the fact that UM is good, was good and inevitably will be in the future. It's not like there is a great assistant waiting in the wings, just a long line of coaches who want to join such a great program. He points to the past coaching exchanges and this year's young Grizzly team.
[Mike] Dennehy's last team went 9-3, and [Joe] Glenn's first team went 13-2, losing in the I-AA championship game to Georgia Southern.

Glenn's final team went 11-3, and Hauck's inititial squad went 9-4 in 2003. But Bobby had the Griz back in the national-championship game the very next season, falling to James Madison.

Hauck's team was 12-2 this past season, with a squad dominated by underclassmen. Now that it appears likely Hauck will be back in Missoula in 2007 (although it's possible a job like Air Force might have some lure), Griz fans will expect at least 13 victories next season.
I'm not at all saying Geise is wrong, I mean he's the sports editor of the paper and covered BSC sports for almost three decades, but this notion that Griz fans have, which he mentions, that we will always be good is kind of scary.

The reason the Griz are so good is because they draw in great talent (coaches and players) and the reason they draw in talent is because they're so good. I understand this is the paradox presented to every college sports program but the undying expectations aren't so high at most schools. If you expect to be great, no matter what happens, eventually you won't be.

Don't you think Miami of a few years ago or Notre Dame, well, always, believed they couldn't do anything but be great?

As a Notre Dame and Griz fan, I have high expectations that will not be lowered, but at the same time it does cause some concern.

Hauck leaving the Zoo?

Griz football Head Coach Bobby Hauck seems to be a moderately warm commodity when it comes to I-A head coach openings. He was reportedly already a candidate for the Iowa State head coaching job. That job is likely headed to San Diego Coach Jim Harbaugh, but it doesn't mean Hauck won't be mentioned for other head coaching positions.

Hauck has I-A experience as he was an assistan at both the University of Washington and the University of Colorado. Along with that, he is considered to be an excellent recruiter. He was the recruiting director for each of these schools for at least part of each tenure.

This recent ESPN article lists him one of the coaches in a non-BCS conference most deserving of a job in one of the six BCS conferencecs. Check the article out soon, it's part of ESPN's Insider free preview. I really hate this whole Insider thing.

Just to get bye.

The Great Falls Tribune points out that this will be the second week in a row that the Griz will face a Big Sky foe coming off a bye week. It isn't the last either as the Griz will face a Montana State team with an extra week of rest and preparation in their final game of the regular season.

This year's Griz/Cat game could very well (once again) determine the BSC champ; it's a shame both teams aren't coming off a bye. It'd be great to see both teams fully healthy and completely prepared for one another.

However, it's not like the Griz have a tough game before facing the Cats. They have 1-6 (0-4) Northern Colorado the week before; it'll be hard not too look past that game.

Here are some quotes from the article:
"I assume it's an accident," Hauck said Tuesday. "But is sure is an advantage, especially late in the year, giving a team a chance to heal up."

"The week off was a good thing," said WSU coach Ron McBride, in his second year at the helm of the Cats after many years at I-A Utah. "At this point, it's good for us because we're still trying to find our way as a football team. We haven't reached near our capabilities yet."
The second quote kind of sounds more like a U-12 youth soccer coach than someone who use to coach at the I-A level. Weber State is coming off a loss to Sac State.

Interesting tidbit on coach Ron McBride: Vikings Blog says he sleeps in student housing with his players during the football season. No biggie, pretty sure Hauck lived down the hall from me on the third floor of the Aberhood last semester.

Week 4 football preview

  • This week's rankings: The Griz come in at #5 but talk about all things evening out; after their upset at Colorado MSU has plummeted out of the rankings faster than Brett Boone left the majors.
  • Not going to be a blowout?  The Griz have won all 11 meetings by a combined score of 419-174 but apparently the Hornets' defense has improved.
  • Interview with the Moose: Your schedule is always going to be hard if you're not very good.
  • Swogger will probably play. Hauck wouldn't admit it but he'll be in there. He practiced with the first team and I think all of us want to see regular TD hookups from the WSU-UW dropdown duo of Swogger and Chambers.
  • What Bobby did with his off week; and other questions.
  • Griz can't get to the QB. One sack in 8 quarters, ouch... or not.
  • GrizTracks Preview. It's not gonna be pretty. Their prediction: 31-3 Griz.

I-AA dropdowns carry Griz Football

The big Double-D pointed out in his recent Kaimin column that I-AA screw-ups and backups sure do love the University of Montana and the U loves them right back.
The University of Montana football team loves transfers like a fat kid loves cake.
Or like the elderly love Buicks.
Or like myself and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg love Shakira
.
So what if I-AA transfers swarm to Missoula like deadbeat dads and retirees to Florida; would the Griz be anywhere without them?

A recent ESPN (AP) article points to how I-AA second teamers and those who Bomar'd their teammates are the prosthetic legs that will carry the Griz through this season.
Just as the Montana Grizzlies were looking to shore up their quarterback spot, which struggled during the 2005 campaign, Washington State's Josh Swogger was looking to play for a team that had a chance of winning a national championship.

Others are former Louisville running back Reggie Bradshaw and Iowa State running back Greg Coleman, along with former Washington receiver Craig Chambers. However, Chambers is expected to miss the season opener Saturday against No. 16 Iowa.

"Chambers isn't cleared yet to play," Hauck said. "We're not sure how long that will linger -- maybe soon, maybe longer. He has issues with me and eligibility."
Come on, ALL the skill positions have been sured up by I-AA dropdowns. Quarterback, running back, and wide receiver all have transfers at #1 on the depth chart. This won't exactly be the case against Iowa as Chambers will not make the trip. (What are these issues with Hauck?)

Yes, these transfers do, in a way, make the Griz and all of I-AA look like 'Plan B' to anyone that messes up or just can't cut it in big time college ball, but we have to take what we can get. If we're going to to complain about this making us look bad, then why not get upset about selling our team out as a practice squad for six figures?

Quotes on Quinn

Here's what Hauck and Quinn had to say on the hogmolly's (no, I do not like Corso) transfer from Oklahoma:
"J.D. has paid a heavy price for a mistake that he made at the University of Oklahoma," said Griz coach Bobby Hauck. "He lost his academic aid and opportunity to play football there and will walk on to our team and try to earn a scholarship."

"I would like to thank coach Hauck and his staff, and the people of Montana, for giving me a second chance to fix a bad situation that I created at Oklahoma," Quinn said. "I am looking forward to playing football for the Grizzlies and I hope that happens soon."

"This situation gives us all an opportunity to reflect on how damaging rule infractions can be to a program and a student athlete," O'Day said.
This was from the AP article on ESPN.com. The article also pointed out that Quinn will start practice on Monday.

Lets all hope that Karl Tyler isn't too huge of a Griz fan; at least not big enough to employ J.D.


Lex Hilliard update

                           
  • Hilliard's injury was to his achilles tendon and came during a non-contact drill.
    • “It's the old-man, noon-hoop, tennis injury. We've all seen it with the guys our age,” said Hauck, who is 42. “In fact, I've never seen it on a football field before. So that would lead you to ask, ‘Why now?' There was not even a hit on the play.
  • Hilliard had already undergone surgery as of Tuesday evening
  • What the backups had to say:
    • “It was hard, because Lex is my friend,” said senior running back Brady Green. “I don't even think about it from a football aspect. You think of it as he's a friend...I went to meetings this morning, and I haven't been to a meeting without Lex in four years, you know? It was kind of a sobering thing, but like coach said, you have to go on. Stuff happens....
      Everybody kind of got it out of their system yesterday.  It was somber for a little while here. But it's a new day, a new chapter. It is somebody else's turn to step up, just like Lex did a couple years ago. You just pray for his full recovery.”
    • “Coach just told us we've got to keep going and try to win the national championship, still,” said junior running back Reggie Bradshaw, who transferred to UM from Louisville this spring.
  • Who they are: "The fall depth chart listed Bradshaw and Iowa State transfer Greg Coleman as co-backups to Hilliard. Bradshaw is 6-foot and 212 pounds; Coleman is 6-1 and 240.

    Beyond those two is Green, 5-9 and 192. The senior out of Brighton, Utah, has been a special teams standout and carried the ball 98 times in three seasons with the Griz, for 396 yards."

From: The Missoulian

Lex Hilliard done for the season.

There is no dispute. Going into this season, Lex Hilliard was the best football player in Montana and probably the entire Big Sky Conference. Now, he's done for the season after suffering a serious foot injury that will require surgery.
We’re very disappointed for Lex Hilliard,” said fourth-year Griz head coach Bobby Hauck. “For him to lose his senior season, especially one that he has prepared so hard for, is a hard pill to swallow. It’s difficult to put into words just how bad that myself, our coaches and our players feel for Lex.

“Obviously it is a tremendous loss to our football team and certainly puts a damper on our championship aspirations since we lost our best player for the season,” Hauck said.
Looks like Swogger will have to carry the offense as the injury leaves a crater where a great running game once was.

In a way, Lex is to Hauck as Terrell Davis and John Elway were to Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos. Hauck has proven that he can win with Lex, lets see if he can do so without.

I do acknowledge the fact that Hauck did lead the Griz to a 9-3 record in his initial season in 2003 without much help from Hilliard. Sorry for another NFL reference, but  Bill Callahan led to the 2002 Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl because of the system put in place by Jon Gruden. Callahan was fired only a [4-12] season later.

During the 2004 run to the National Championship game Lex failed to break the 1000 yard (950 yards) mark but he did rumble into the endzone 17 times.

In 2005, Hilliard ran for 1,332 yards and the Griz were BSC co-champions before losing their opening round playoff game.

Lex will return in 2007 after redshirting for the 2006 season.

From: The Missoulian

Montana Grizzlies football news

  • The Griz come into this season ranked third on The Sports Network's preseason I-AA poll. The Griz received five first place votes and are looking to make their 14th consecutive playoff appearance. Good thing there is no Omar Minaya AD in the Big Sky Conference to end their Atlanta Brave-esque run.
  • Fall football camp opens August 9 (tomorrow). Two-a-days start August 14 and the "Great Griz Encounter" is slated for August 24th.
    • Bobby Hauck after cliche tutelage from Crash Davis: “We are excited about our off-season conditioning and the the strides that we made in spring drills,” said fourth-year Griz Head Coach Bobby Hauck. “Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and get ready for Iowa. We expect our players to report in great condition, to hit the ground running and be ready to play.”
  • Ron Kowalski, football assistant, retires: "It was a tremendous experience for both our players and coaches to have the opportunity to work with a veteran coach like Ron Kowalski," said UM head coach Bobby Hauck. "Ron brought a lot to our program. He had a wealth of coaching experience, but most importantly he was a great person to be around on a daily basis."
  • Update: Steve Axman Steps in