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unlv football :

New coach Hauck makes good first impression

Former Montana coach praised for energy, expects to transform UNLV program


Steve Marcus

Bobby Hauck, left, meets boosters Rich Abajian, center, and Tyler Corder during a news conference to announce Hauck’s hiring Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

UNLV New Football Coach-Bobby Hauck

UNLV officially ended its search for a new football coach today by announcing former University of Montana head coach Bobby Hauck as their new man.

Bobby Hauk introduced at UNLV

New UNLV head football coach Bobby Hauck smiles during a news conference at UNLV Wednesday, December 23, 2009. Hauck had a 80-17 record at Montana where he was the head coach from 2003. Launch slideshow »

Bobby Hauck has been the football coach at UNLV for only one day, yet his energy and enthusiasm already seem contagious.

Hired on Tuesday as the 10th coach in program history, the 45-year-old Hauck (pronounced HOCK) was full of optimism during an introductory news conference Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center. His high expectations were shared by the group of assembled supporters and players.

"We are going to make good things happen here, I promise you," Hauck said. "We aren't going to be lacking in effort to get that done"

Hauck’s primary message was generating a positive buzz in the community, and judging by Wednesday’s gathering, there was definitely a newfound energy.

That was well-received by a group of roughly a dozen players in attendance.

"The No. 1 thing he said that gave me goose bumps was enthusiasm," said senior-to-be defensive lineman Malo Taumua, one of the team’s leaders. "That energy is going to help us get over the 5-7 (record) hump and to our goal of a bowl game."

Hauck spent the past seven seasons at Montana, posting an 80-17 record and leading the Grizzlies to three appearances in the Football Championship Series title game. Montana went 14-1 this fall and last Friday lost, 23-21, to Villanova in the championship game.

Playing meaningful games late in the season is something several feel Hauck could bring to UNLV. The Rebels haven’t had a winning season or played in a bowl game since 2000, when they finished 8-5 and beat Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Hauck replaces Mike Sanford, who went 16-43 in five years at the helm and didn’t have a winning season. Sanford won two games in each of his initial three seasons, and UNLV finished 5-7 in 2009.

Hauck wouldn’t list any goals or predictions for the future, but stressed the team would be one the UNLV fan base would be proud of.

"I think people here are hungry for us to have a football team that plays well and wins some games," he said. "Enthusiasm will be generated if we get some wins and are worth watching."

Jim Livengood, who was hired as UNLV’s athletic director last Thursday, needed only five days to find a new football coach. He also interviewed veteran coach Dennis Franchione, whose last stop was Texas A&M, on Monday.

Franchione, whose track record of success is highlighted by turning around programs at Mountain West Conference schools TCU and New Mexico, would have been a safe hire.

But with Hauck, who went 51-6 in his final four years at Montana, Livengood feels the sky is the limit.

Livengood, who inherited the search process from interim Athletic Director Jerry Koloskie, said Hauck is the total package — he’s a relentless recruiter, passionate about his players and knowledgeable about the game.

"He was born to coach and born to compete," Livengood said. "That is something we need at this university in this particular role."

Hauck agreed to a three-year contract worth $350,000 annually plus incentives for particulars like wins and bowl-game appearances. The contract was to be approved later Wednesday at a special Board of Regents meeting.

Hauck said the length of the contract — three years as opposed to the more common five years for a new head coach — was a non-issue.

"If I didn’t believe in how the contract was structured, I wouldn’t have agreed to it," he said.

Former UNLV and NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham, arguably the most notable player in UNLV history, was in the crowd Wednesday. He endorsed Hauck as being the man to turn the program around.

"It’s a new beginning," said Cunningham, who passed for 59 touchdowns and more than 8,000 yards during his Rebel career. "How can you not be excited about him? He’s a winner and he’s going to do great things for the program and university."

One of Hauck’s first orders of business will be to hit the recruiting trail.

UNLV only has three high school seniors committed for the Feb. 3 signing day and didn’t have any players sign on the junior-college signing day last week. Most schools sign more than 20 each year.

Recruiting, however, is something Hauck prides himself on. Before his stint at Montana, he previously worked as an assistant and recruiting coordinator under Rick Neuheisel — now the head coach at UCLA — at Colorado and Washington.

There is a recruiting dead period until Jan. 4, and Hauck plans on being aggressive in securing prospects during January — arguably the most vital month in the process.

He already has a list of recruits he plans on pursuing and feels catching up won’t be impossible.

"We won’t come up for air until the first Wednesday in February on national signing day," Hauck said.

It’s those types of comments that stood out to the group of officials in attendance. The feeling is that Hauck could be one of the game’s up-and-coming young coaches.

"I like him because I can see for the first time the potential to have another Pete Carroll (USC’s successful coach)," said Jack Shofield, who has been part of the Board of Regents the past seven years. "I want UNLV to be mentioned with schools like USC and Notre Dame where kids line up to go here."

Hauck led Montana to the Big Sky Conference title each of his seven seasons with the program. He went 31-1 in league play the last four years.

Duplicating that success at UNLV, a school typically toward the bottom of the Mountain West Conference, won’t be easy. But Hauck isn't deterred.

"I really believe UNLV and its football program have a bright future," he said.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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  1. He sounds good......but so did Mike Sanford in 2004-05. We'll see..

  2. As a life long Griz fan, Congratulations to both Bobby and UNLV. I think the Rebels made a great hire. I, for one, will miss Bobby's winning ways in Missoula and wish him well in his new position. I'll be keeping my eye on UNLV to see how he does. Go get 'em Bobby!

  3. All I care about are results. 1st impressions are a dime a dozen. Start out with a strong recruiting class and I'll be impressed.


  4. Looks like he had a good record at Montana. Hate to see him change that here.

  5. Listened to the PC on the radio, seemed like a HS coach was being introduced. I think the AD pulled every cliche out of the book introducing Hauck. I'm still scratching my head how a coach can fail 3 times in championship games at a lower level and now will be expected to beat tougher (albeit with hopefully better players). After watching BYU spank Oregon State lastnight it looks like we're at least 3 years away as long as the new coach can recruit/coach up.

  6. We won't be contenders until we recruit better, which means we have to improve our facilities and get more Alumni/Booster support to help the cause...;)

    Until then, we're just pretenders.


  7. S711, do you support the program or are you just another lazy "fan" that expects everyone else to do the supporting until the team turns around? I don't remember too many "supporters" during the down years in basketball. But now the Kruger has the program competing, there are a lot more people who claim to be fans.

  8. Livengood is our AD and Hauck is our football coach....it's a done deal! Let's give them both a chance to their jobs and hope for the best!

  9. Big_John - I am a UNLV Alumnus, Class of '96. Long suffering, realist that knows better than to believe that a coach can turn the program around. I drank the Kool-Aid with John Robinson.....purchased 4 season tickets back then, even though I couldn't afford it. And then got burned by high expectations. Also, got screwed in the Bowl Game, which is why I ultimately dropped my season tickets. UNLV Tickets is a disaster when it comes to that stuff.

    Anyway, now I know that it takes more than a coach to turn it around. It takes good recruiting. And prospects won't come here with our inferior facilities/stadium/lack of true commitment to a top notch program. It will take Alumni/Booster support which will lead to more donations, which will lead to better facilities/stadium, which leads to more revenues, more money to spend on better coaches, trainers, etc.

    Sam Boyd Stadium is a joke. Gorman High School has a better facility.

    Just being real dude. Not trying to be a hater.


  10. Good luck Rebels. We will miss Coach Hauck in Missoula. A warning to the players. When you get back from Christmas break, you'd better be ready for winter conitioning.

  11. I feel sorry for you UNLV. I'm from Missoula Montana and this guy will have you more frustrated than you can possibly imagine especially if he takes his offensive coordinator with him. Yeah he put together some good years but Montana was a great program before he got there he didn't turn them around.

    The teams we faced had a combine record of 39-58 (thats how Bobby got his great record) our BigSky conference is weak, and we routinely played down a level and we lost 3 title appearances. All of that and I have not even mentioned all the trouble his player got into. The list of offenses include things like burglery, assault with a deadly weapon among many many other legal problems including a murder trial. Half of Griz Nation is shouting for joy!! Only the slack jawed yokels who only care about the cheap "W" on Saturday are upset he's gone. As powerful as our program is at our level anyone could win with the Griz Bobby is nothing special. Good luck with the mess your going to have.
    Oh I forgot to mention Bobby's rant that made ESPN where he got pissed at school newspaper report and brought us negative national attention. The reporter was asking investigative questions about an assault where 2 meaty football players kicked some poor kids teeth out and the coach was managing a cover-up. The player did get benched for a game against one of our drop down games against Western State of D-II status.

  12. I agree with Sinatraa711 I think we need to get better recruits/stadium/facilities or at least make it better starting with parking, but I think we are starting to climb that mountain. First of all we are getting a good coach and I feel really enthusiastic about him and if he can get some good players look for us to be a contender.

  13. Man after watching the press conference video and seeing him speak, the best trait on this guy is his sinister looking smile. It just beams "I'm not here for BullS**"! "I'm here to handle business and win football games!" Looks like we have a true disciplinarian on our hands folks. These players aren't gonna know what hit them, and the ones who can't hack it (or Hauk it!) will bee booted!

  14. Good luck rebels! Hope it works. All of these processes seem to be narcisistic to me - hey I'll hire my other brother Darrell. I know I don't know what I am talking about but do wonder about any process that hasn't vetted say 10 candidates and considered the possibities. Why the rush? Manana!

  15. Congrats UNLV. I was very saddened at our loss in the NC. I am just as saddened at the loss of Bobby as our coach. Pay no attention to some of our so called fans that belittle Bobby and know very little about what comprises a good coach. I don't claim to be a football coaching expert but I do know he's an honest man, a family man, he cares tremendously about his players on and off the field as well as in the classroom. When the sports writers come to write about him and his team, they should write not that they won or lost, but about their heart and soul and how they will react in the game of life and what they have learned through their endeavors and mistakes in life. GO GRIZ-GO UNLV

  16. Look at his past dealings with the student newspaper at Montana.

    He's a jerk.

    The Jim Gibbons of football coaches.

  17. First, ol66, that student newspaper flap was of the students' own making. They raised an issue with BH last fall re: an incident in the spring semester. That incident was resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, including the "victim" and his family. I don't think BH's comment to "f**k off" was appropriate; he should have just ignored the pests. That ESPN & SI blew it up is no credit to them. It happens that an SI staffer was the adviser to the student newspaper, so you figure it out.

    Secondly, some of the criminal conduct was by FORMER UM football players. They were no longer on the roster, yet how the local press loves to indict the UM football program any way it can: "football players are basically thugs." I'm sure the Vegas press is the same: "So & so, a former football player of the x team, has been charged with...." Maybe he's a former player because the coach realized he recruited the wrong character.

    I have a bit advice for UNLV officials: If you want to build a winning program, build a winning stadium. You build it, they will come. That's what happened at UM in 1985. Washington-Grizzly stadium changed the entire complexion of Griz football. If you want to be big league, then pay for it.

  18. What was up with the dramatic music bed in the press conference that the Sun has on the front page? Are those at the Sun trying to tell us something.

    Interesting how Livengood refers to the Coaching recruitment as something that he picked up from Jerry Koloski. So if it does not work after year 3 is it Jerry's fault? Did not hear how this was Livengood's target from day one.

    No comments about Nevada. It beats the brash comments that bit Sanford on the rear end year after year that were motivation every year the Pack played the Rebels.

    A player comments about him using the word enthusiasm and being excited about the use of that term. So Sanford never used the same term or was he never someone players bought into when he used that word? It says more about the players when just the mention of that word all of a sudden is motivation, what more did they need when they were getting beat at Wyoming, Nevada and at SDSU with a bowl bid on the line?

    I hope the guy blows us away by turning around the program and working hard in the community to get buy in. To say he will keep Nevada kids at home, when he has not recruited Nevada kids and to say he has a list of recruits - where is this list coming from. Koloski? Sanford? Montana's recruiting lists? Please dont say you need to retain past UNLV staff to recruit locally, that would be a joke. Good guys, but burned bridges due to how they worked the local community sent more good kids out of town than did the UNLV locker room situation.
    Eddie Wide of Cimarron and Stevenson Sylvester of Valley looked pretty good tonite for Utah. Then again, UNLV thought that they could not cut it and that a 5 th team Inland Empire kid was a better prospect than any in their own back yard.
    Too many ums, same Coach speak and little insight to what will happen between now and January makes you wonder if he can get this done in 3 years or will he be giving us a program like Washington State has at the moment - 3 wins in 2 seasons blaming a past staff for lack of players for their failures to Coach at the D1 level not at Bowl Subdivision. We can only hope that he delivers more than the past two Big Sky Coaches who have taken the leap to D1 - Joe Glenn and Paul Wulff. Here is hoping that he is more like Brian Kelly coming from Grand Valley State instead of those two Big Sky Coaches.

  19. The fact that he never recruited in Las Vegas from Montana has absolutely zero bearing on whether he'll recruit in Las Vegas from, well, Las Vegas.

    It will take a little time to develop ties, but he pointed out that he's going to spend as much time as he can out in the community, meeting people and developing relationships.

  20. What is up with all the negativity about Hauck? There is no way this team goes backwards & wins 3 games a year under Hauck. The players could win 5 games by themselves without a coach - oh wait that already happened the last 2 seasons. If you think that there isn't talent already on this team then you are just flat out blind. Hauck will bring out the best in these players. This current Rebel team can compete with anybody in the MWC they just lacked disciplined leadership. Dennis Therrell would have destroyed Florida's defense with his horrible schemes!! Todd Berry was so predictable with his play calling, and the rebels were still able to move to the ball decently. Say what you want about Sanford but he did recruit well.

    The facilities and the stadium are secondary issues to recruits, those things only matter to the recruits that will never play a down. As a former D1 recruited athlete I will tell you 100 times over recruits choose a university not for the facilities or an on campus stadium but because of the "Coach". The coach is what matters to an athlete!! Hauck will be able to recruit great athletes to play in Vegas. Vegas is appealing and a young energenic coach that has a winning resume and has a vision for this program will be able to sell that to recruits.

  21. Could not have said it better BetOn... I have said the same thing about the talent on the UNLV roster...

    Look at Ryan Wolfe... That kid is going to be one of the best receivers in the NFL in my opinion, and he was a Sanford recruit...

    I think this guy is going to be the push this team needs to get those 2 wins next season... Keep in mind this UNLV team with poor coaching was able to win 5 and actually came very close in 2 others...

    I think this is a no nonsense kind of coach... We have had a lot of hot air and empty promises from coaching in the last 15 years... And yes I am including John Robinson... He beat Reno, had one decent season and then coasted the rest of the time... So this is a huge change, we now have a doer not someone who is going to talk about what he is going to do... I think Coach Hauck will consider a season less the .500 a failure and genuinely be ticked about it to the point of taking it personal...

  22. An above post has lots of incorrect information.

    The combined record of UM's opposition is completely wrong. Depending on the rating service, the Big Sky conference was the either 2nd or 3rd I-AA conference this year--as has been the case for most of the past 10 years.

    The "meaty" football players involved in the fight, which occurred 6 months before the school newspaper started inquiring, were both cornerbacks. One is 5'9", 175. No teeth were kicked out. There was no "cover up". In fact, the victim's dad reported the incident to Hauck--as his son had not gone to the police--and the matter was resolved among the son, dad, Hauck and the players. Hauck then took significant disciplinary action against the players during the spring, summer and fall--including suspending them for the first game. Most people supported Hauck on the Kaimin matter.

  23. Does anyone read those long posts? I don't.

    SMB, too funny, I picked that up too. His smile is great.

  24. Look, he is a winner. He is a hard worker. He is working out prior to his players. He stays late and will better your program. However, he was out coached in the FSC championship game in the second half. He did post one of the most dramatic wins in U of M history coming back from a 37 point deficit late in the third quarter against SF Austin. It is a incredibly hard to see him go. You will not see an immediate turn around because your program is in shambles. The truth hurts. Hauck is a good stepping stone in the right direction.

  25. The program is in better shape than you think, Grizman. Sanford was a pretty good recruiter, but the team underachieved. Also, the team was only one win from a bowl game the last two years. Hauck is hardly inheriting a bare cupboard.

  26. BetOnBlack - Can you answer these burning questions that I have then......why was John Robinson unsuccessful in building us a program? Wasn't he a great coach? Why don't we get good recruits then? Why have previous coaches failed? and what does Hauck have that they don't?

    Just curious....because if it was all about the coach, we should be better than where we are now. I think it is about other things that make us look more like a high school program than a D-1 program.

    Merry Christmas!


  27. Robinson did get good recruits early on, but he was old, and kind of mailed in his last couple years. When he was also AD, that didn't help either, as both are full time jobs.

    Hauck is young, energetic, has a history of winning as a head coach, and was considered the best recruiter everywhere he's been. UNLV hasn't had anyone with a resume' close to that since at least Harvey Hyde.

  28. Tony Knapp, Ron Meyer, Jeff Horton, Johnny Rob...It doesn't matter who the head coach is, if you don't recruit and have the Ryan Reynolds, Demarco Murrays, Steven Jacksons, etc. stay home, you cannot get the top players from other areas of the country. Hauck needs to RECRUIT VEGAS, GET A FEW KIDS FROM CALI and then set up a pipeline to SOUTH FLORIDA, where there are 275 D1 kids every year and 52 on NFL rosters!

    As an alum of this school, I am getting tired of skipping football and looking toward basketball. It's time to be relevant again on the football field, but it all starts with making Las Vegas a priority when recruiting and inviting coaches from Southern Nevada on to campus and making them feel like they are vital. I know too many coaches in the area who feel like they have been pushed away from UNLV. That has to stop!

    Facilities are overrated. Win and kids will come. There are dozens of schools that have billion dollar facilities that don't win. Ever see how crappy USC's weightroom is?

    Go Rebs!

  29. This is a great Christmas present for UNLV football. I am really looking forward to next season. GO REBELS!!

  30. Not sure about South Florida, but he has a lot of experience recruiting in the west, and apparently has a ton of California players on the Montana roster.

    He also made it a point that he's going to recruit heavily locally, to try to keep Vegas kids at home. Of course, it seems like every coach says that, so the proof will be in the pudding. But given his reputation as a great recruiter, I tend to believe him.

    That said, there's almost no way you can keep the Demarco Murrays and Steven Jacksons of the world at home, when the big boys come after them. And other kids simply want to get away, and it has nothing to do with the program or the coach.

  31. BH will be good for you. He was good for the MT Grizzly program, despite a lot of naysayers, whose chief fault with him was not winning a national championship, even tho he took the Griz to the "big time" 3 out of the 7 years he was at UM. This guy is a program builder, and that's what you Reb's want. At UM, he took a good program and made it the best in the FCS. He'll do the same for you, if you support him thru thick & thin. Many of you will not like his personality; many players will not like it & leave, & should. Bobby wants every player to be a winner. That's how he recruits and that's how he coaches.

  32. Livengood and Hauck are both doers. I'm tired of hearing all the crap, cause it's all over, all the talk is done. We have 2 new leaders, and now is their time to shine. Hauck's 3 year contract was perfect. Only 3 years to show Las Vegas he has what it takes to turn the program around and if he makes it to a bowl game or wins a lot more, he gets paid for his production. DO WORK! Great hire, and I can't judge either way at this point. No more talk, SHOW me!

  33. Dont bash the man before he gets started.
    WAIT and see what he does at UNLV before you pass judgement.

    Welcome coach Hauck

  34. Let's give Hauck a chance! I believe he can do great things for UNLV. Much better than having an old guy who wants to come here only looking for a retirement home.