The University of Montana graduate in me really wants Bobby Hauck to be the next head football coach of the Grizzlies.
The football fan in me does, too.
Hauck’s return to the Griz would be great on so many levels. The Big Timber native who has a severe allergy to jock-sniffing boosters was one of the greatest coaches the Grizzlies ever had.
Actually, for a seven-year stretch, Hauck was as good as any coach the Big Sky Conference has ever seen.
From 2003-2009, Hauck’s Grizzlies went 80-17. That includes a 47-6 record in conference play. Hauck’s Grizzlies won outright or tied for the Big Sky title in seven straight seasons.
Oh, and there is a matter of the Cat-Griz game, which is the most important contest for the head coach of the University of Montana or Montana State University. Hauck was 5-2 against the Bobcats.
And the best thing about that 5-2 record is knowing that Hauck is still losing sleep over the two.
Hauck, who was burned by the Bobcats when they hired Mike Kramer after the 1999 season, couldn’t stand the Bobcats or Bozeman. That’s why his teams stayed in Livingston the nights before playing there.
It is an absolute thing of beauty when the head coach hates the biggest rival even more than the most diehard fans.
Rumor has it that Hauck is the leader in the clubhouse for the job he left after the 2009 season to take the head coaching job at UNLV, and many Griz fans want him back.
You’ve seen the memes. Griz fans are eager for Hauck to return to his alma mater to “Make Montana Great Again.”
That sounds great. The 53-year-old Hauck gets the chance to come back for one more run. He’ll put in 12 years or so, go 10-2 against the Bobcats — and be pissed about the two — before riding off into the sunset.
Griz fans will rejoice, and Cotton-Eyed Joe will once again rock the jam-packed Washington Grizzly Stadium, which will once again need to add seats.
The romantic in me, however, hopes Hauck flew to Missoula Sunday night so he could tell the Grizzlies to, “Take your job and shove it.” It’s his turn to leave the Grizzlies at the altar.
The University of Montana and its fans do not deserve to have Bobby Hauck back. Not even close.
Three years ago, Hauck wanted the job, and he was given every reason to believe it was his.
Even Griz fans seemed to really like the idea of reuniting with the coach they once hated for losing 17 of his 97 games.
Then, the Grizzlies pulled the rug out on Hauck by hiring Bob Stitt. Nothing against Stitt personally, but picking the former Colorado School of Mines over Hauck was clearly not the right move.
The fans are even less deserving of a Hauck return than the administration. If fans weren’t making life hard on Hauck’s family at the grocery store or putting up for sale signs in his yard after every big loss, they were cursing his name to anybody who would listen.
It probably wasn’t as bad as the way New England treated Bill Buckner, but there had to be nights when every member of the Hauck family felt as though the coach let a slow roller go between his legs in the World Series.
Hauck was negatively compared to Marty Schottenheimer, the former NFL coach who always got to the playoffs but always seemed to lose in the first round.
The playoff comparison was so wrong on both sides. For one thing, Schottenheimer was a great coach in the NFL for a long time.
Also, Hauck went 10-7 in the playoffs, advancing to the national championship game three times in seven seasons in Missoula.
Griz fans have been quick to point out that Hauck’s Grizzlies lost in the championship games in 2005, 2008 and 2009. What they won’t tell you, though, is that James Madison, Richmond and Villanova were playing with scholarship players, too.
When you get four games deep into the playoffs, you’re bound to meet a pretty good team.
Right now, Hauck is the special teams coordinator and associate head coach of a pretty good team at San Diego State. He’s been there since the Grizzlies embarrassed him in the days leading up to the Stitt hire in 2014.
After Friday’s 35-10 win over New Mexico, Hauck’s Aztecs are 10-2 and heading to a bowl game — again.
In San Diego.
You would need your head examined if you would rather work in Montana than San Diego during football season.
Sure, the hoax that is global warming led to some parts of our great state seeing temperatures in the 70s over Thanksgiving. Those temperatures, though, could be below zero by Saturday in Montana. You never know in Big Sky Country.
In San Diego, they cancel school when the temperature drops below 60 for two days.
The main reason Hauck should tell the Grizzlies thanks but no thanks is that the job is an absolute no-win situation.
Hauck would be taking over a program that is nowhere near where it was when he was hired in 2003. If he were only able to win 81 percent of his games this time around, he would be seen as a failure.
Sure, after Stitt’s three less-than-memorable years leading the Grizzlies, there is a chance those Grizzly fans would appreciate Hauck the second time around.
But, really, how long do you think that will last? Probably right up until the time that the clock hits zeroes on the Grizzlies’ first loss under the second Hauck administration.
After all, we are talking about a fan base that gave new coach Joe Glenn the house-for-sale treatment when his team fell 10-9 at home to Hofstra in his first game in 2000.
His first game.
From Joe Gibbs to Art Shell to Caddyshack II, sequels are hardly ever as much fun as the original. It’s hard to, as they say, recapture the rapture, and the success usually isn’t the same.
Trust me, nobody likes Bobby Hauck more than I do. I am the president and founder of the Bobby Hauck Fan Club.
I would love to see the Grizzlies made great again, and I’d love to see Hauck get another shot as a head coach.
This time around, however, Bobby Hauck should tell the Grizzlies to take a hike.
— Bill Foley, who liked the sequel better in Young Guns, Austin Powers and Star Wars, writes a column that usually appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74