By Mick Holien
Bobby Hauck has long been a polarizing figure.
Any time someone has as much success, outwardly displays confidence deserving of such success and makes it clear sometimes in a forceful tune that it is my way or the highway, there will be an element of people who take offense.
Let’s be clear from the onset I was anything but that person.
Having broadcast every Grizzly game in Hauck’s seven-year tenure and interviewing him a minimum if three times a week at sometimes for close to an hour and having traveled all those miles sometimes from daybreak until the next day’s dawn, I won’t go so far as to say I’ve seen him function in every possible scenario but maybe aside from wife, Stacy, and other family members I am right in there.
There of course was the jubilation from dominating Montana State the last five seasons of his tenure and three straight times in Bozeman; annual trips to the FCS playoffs; game; six overall losses in his last four years paired with 51 victories; seven straight wins over former Griz coach Jerome Souers at Northern Arizona; four appearances in the FCS championship and one of my personal favorites a 35-27 playoff road victory at James Madison.
Along with that there was the disappointments of the quartet of unsuccessful visits to the title game; nationwide publicity the program received when he shunned a Kaimin reporter after the student newspaper attempted to get information about player conduct and off-field antics of a few players which brought flashing blue lights to the front of the Adams Center tom meet the Beachliners returning early one morning after a victory over Weber State.
And among the successes and disappointments, which included the death of his Dad, Bob, I continually observed Hauck’s patience, explosiveness, leadership, camaraderie and preparation but most importantly his character.
Make no mistake about it if you are going to have a winning program at the level of success Bobby attained you need to recruit some players who have a certain edge and maybe not have an error-free childhood.
I would argue that college athletics and institutions of higher learning should accept the responsibility to also elevate those youngsters to be productive and well educated citizens.
Recruiting is not an exact science and college and an athletic program doesn’t shackle students or monitor their whereabouts or activities 24-hours-a-day.
These are after all, kids.
It is not place to try to defend any of Bobby’s supposed missteps especially his refusal to talk to the press except to say we worked at it and there wasn’t anything he didn’t answer in my radio experiences.
And there have been few Montana athletes that were not given an opportunity to be an eventual part of it all and that was all epitomized for me when Marc Mariani paced the sidelines willing the Grizzlies back from what was the FCS largest deficit to defeat South Dakota State.
Ask players what they learned from the Marine-like environment and return Hauck to the helm and the Grizzlies back into mix of hierarchy who dominate the Big Sky Conference and FCS ranks.