Rebels football:

Hauck and his bosses still believe UNLV football is on the right path

Now saddled with a 6-32 overall record, Hauck said he believes the Rebels probably need to make a bowl for him to see a fifth season


Associated Press

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck reacts as his team fails to convert on a third-down play in the red zone against Colorado State in the fourth quarter of Colorado State’s 33-11 victory in an NCAA college football game in Fort Collins, Colo., Nov. 10, 2012. Sports Talk

Is this the end?

Following a disheartening 48-10 season-ending loss at lowly Hawaii, Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer, Case Keefer and Taylor Bern discuss the ramifications of a third straight two-win season for Rebels coach Bobby Hauck. (Spoiler: Get ready for Year Four)

Three days after his third season at UNLV ended with the team’s 22nd consecutive road loss in humiliating fashion at Hawaii, Rebels coach Bobby Hauck laid out the future as he sees it.

In three years he has won a combined six games. To stick around for a fifth he may need to match that total in 2013.

“We probably need to be bowl eligible next year,” Hauck said. “I think that’s fair.”

Hauck said that wasn’t a direct order from his primary boss, UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood, “but we’re going to have those talks. I would think Jim’s thinking pretty much along those lines.”

Hauck came to UNLV in 2010 from Montana, where he reached three national championship games with the Division I-AA powerhouse. Before that he was a successful assistant at several D-I schools, including UCLA and Washington. He has been a part of teams that started at or near the bottom and eventually worked their way up a time or two. Hauck said he knows what it takes.

“If I didn’t think we could get there and have a great year next year, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” Hauck said from his office in the Lied Athletic Complex on campus. “Because it’s hard, you invest a lot.”

For sticking around through his original three-year contract, Hauck this offseason will get a lump sum payment of $450,000. Hauck’s base salary is $350,000, so this payment was a workaround way of essentially paying him $500,000 a year. A two-year extension signed in 2011 has Hauck under contract at UNLV through the 2014 season. If the Rebels fall short next year and a change is made then the university would owe him the last year of that deal.

With Hauck at the helm in 2013, the question turns to which assistants will be joining him. The coaching staff has been under a great deal of fire this year for the on-field production and play calling.

Hauck said he would make those decisions in the coming weeks. The staff is virtually the same one he came to Las Vegas with three years ago, and several of them were with him at Montana, too. Hauck said Livengood and UNLV President Neal Smatresk are very open minded in personnel discussions, though as the bosses “they’re going to get what they want.”

“I’m grateful to Neal and Jim for believing we’re on the right path,” Hauck said.

Some would say Hauck’s already had enough time to turn the Rebels around. There are programs around the country that in the last few days have proved far less forgiving than Las Vegas.

Colorado fired Jon Embree after just two seasons. Auburn will pay Gene Chizik $7.5 million just to walk away two years after winning the national championship. North Carolina State finished 7-5, meaning it will go to a bowl game for the fourth time since Tom O’Brien took over in 2007. He won’t be joining them because he, too, is now looking for a job.

No two situations are the same, and certainly UNLV couldn’t put itself in a position to pay a buyout like Auburn or NC State ($1.2 million over four years). Besides the financial situation, there’s evidence that UNLV is in what Hauck called phase two of a long-term plan. First you lose big, then lose close and eventually you win close.

Until the road debacles at Colorado State and Hawaii, the Rebels had done a good job this season of hanging close with teams of comparable skill and ability. Four of the team’s 11 losses this year were by a combined 16 points, which makes six victories seem tantalizingly close yet still so far away.

To try to reach that plateau next year, Hauck said he might look at signing a few more junior college guys than normal, though that all depends on who says yes. For the most part he’s still going to try to build a balanced recruiting class (read: not over recruiting one position) consisting of guys he hopes don’t have to see much playing time as true freshmen. Even with the pressure mounting ahead of what’s essentially a do or die season, Hauck is treating his decisions like he’s building something for three years down the road more than next year.

“Everything we’ve done has been a long-term goal-type decision,” Hauck said. “It’s not a microwave process when you’re developing these guys. It’s a four-to-six year deal.”

Next season is Year Four of the Hauck era. He has support within the athletics department, though his defenders are few and far between in the public. Three straight two-win seasons have a way of doing that.

There will almost assuredly be changes in the coaching staff by the time next year rolls around. Everything else will probably look the same.

Quarterback Nick Sherry and running backs Tim Cornett and Bradley Randle all return to anchor an offense that had some bright spots this season. Leading tackler John Lotulelei leaves a void at middle linebacker, but for the most part the main pieces on defense also return.

“I’m really disappointed in our win total,” Hauck said. “I’m not disappointed in the progress we made.”

In other words, UNLV is not undergoing an overhaul. Enough of the right people, including Hauck himself, believe in what the Rebels are doing.

Now they get a year to prove it.


• Defensive end James Boyd, who came to UNLV last year as a quarterback, is no longer with the team because of academics.

• Offensive linemen Brett Boyko (leg) and Robert Waterman (upper arm) will miss spring practice because of surgeries.

• Hauck said based on the feedback he’s heard from scouts, he would be “shocked” if Lotulelei isn’t taken in the NFL draft. Lotulelei led the team with 9.23 tackles per game, the 40th best mark in the country.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at

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  1. I can only laugh at this enire article. Where can I make this bet that UNLV doesn't go bowling. What a joke Hauck and Livengood are, and now they have taken it to a new level. This no money talk is the biggest crock ever giving this chump 800K for 2 wins. We could get a very good "experienced" coach that actually payed college football and has clue. Once again the joke is on Las Vegas. Can't wait until they run Livingood out of town for wasteful spending.

  2. The whole football program should be scrapped. One crappy coach after another and division 2 talent doesn't get it done. Nobody wants to play football at UNLV. The misery and embarrassment will continue for fans.

  3. I am going to be sick. In other words........

    I bit the bullet and purchased four club level tickets this year after vowing not to. They are now officially up for grabs. I am not a repeat customer after having purchased season tickets since 1980's.

    Coach Hauck and his bosses owes the fans more than this article. Hauck is the coach yet he can't accept responsibility for any of his decision making. Unbelievable!!

    Hopefully Santa brings him Madden; he'll need it.

  4. I moved here from Los Angeles in 1988. There has not been a year since then that I have not read this article. Only difference is the name of the coach, the name of the "star athlete" who is going to win the Heisman, and the name of the reporter. I'll read it again next year. Has anyone looked at the amount of money UNLV has spent on football since 1967, compared that to the income from the football program and other benefits from the program, and had a meeting of administrators to discuss whether or not that money could have been better spent on academics? I think I know the answer. When the football coach is paid three times the salary of the college president maybe there should be a conversation.

  5. Funny thing is...Hauck could (and very well might) lose all his games next year and technically, the way Livengood is quoted, have "six wins next year" counting the 2 per year since he got here. I am eagerly anticipating this line of argument from UNLV leadership - and the author of this article - this time next year.

  6. It's the same old story: Head coach has a bad year, throws a few assistants under the bus to save his own hide and calls it good. At some point the head coach has to be held accountable for the end result. Ending the season by losing by 38 points to a team who had won one game the entire season doesn't sound like the "right direction" to me.

    Hauck claims to know how to buold a program. Really? Three years in, and all I see are closer losses - and still losing to teams they should beat. According to those in the know, his success at Montana was largely built by his predecessor, and Hauck just fed off of it. He didn't "build" anything.

    I suppose that UNLV will have to go 0-12 next season and lose every game by at least 40 points before the AD acknowledges that this was a bad hire. I am sure that Coach Hauck and his staff try very hard and put a lot of time and effort into the program. This staff simply isn't up to the task.

  7. Livengood does not seem to understand the bigger picture in regards to UNLV Athletics. The PAC 12 and Big 12 are the threats right now in the West to add more teams. If you do not get into one of these super conferences - you may never get the chance to compete for big money.

    UNLV Football needs a program builder - not an Assistant Coach - a guy who can build up the program from scratch. Hauck's plan has not worked.

    Fact is that UNLV Basketball is not cared about with all of these teams moving around. It is football driven. Vegas has a great TV market. A winning football program with a new stadium allows UNLV to get into the conversation. BYU, Boise, San Diego State get considered due to their market and football. What else is left - New Mexico (no tv market, Air Force (name no real TV market), Fresno or San Jose (no real markets and close to Stanford and Cal) - Hawaii is a no, Wyoming is a no and UNLV beats Nevada with new stadium and TV market. But -an annually non competitive football prorgam at UNLV - in addition to academics at UNLV - these are hurdles. Jim Livengood needs to realize the possibility right now- make a statement by getting a name Coach who might have some baggage - but can win.

    Livengood needs to grab the right Coach now and not wait. Take a Tom OBrien who build BC and got NC State to Bowl Games. If Bobby Petrino does not get hired this year - go grab him. Get Jeff Tedford who built Cal. When Bob Davie can show up at New Mexico and win more than Hauck - sorry Jim you have the wrong guy.

    Money will come for a Coach with a name and proven track record. Hauck is bleeding this program and any Assistant he brings to UNLV will not be quality as they know he is on his last legs. The days of getting a Head Coach from San Jose State or Utah State are over. Jim Mora - was not UCLA's top choice- but they got him. Steve Mariuci won at Cal and has been on the sidelines for a while. These Coaches can take over UNLV, sell tickets, get involved with the community all year - they will pay for themselves and also pay off Hauck's Contract.
    UNLV winning in Football gives them a shot to be considered when expansion comes up. Keeping Hauck kills this.

  8. are you kidding me--this chump should have been fired the first year, and the program should have dropped down to division II ten years ago! Clean house immediately!!!!!

    who is the moron who gives these deals to these crap coaches---go get some young hungry division II coach and start over already!!!

    On side issue related---I tried on several occasions to buy rebel basket tickets at the T&M window---and was jerked off on each attempt--this is run like a little kids lemonade stand--only worse. Im over there again and again trying to spend my money and support the rebels and all i got was "i don't know" "i don't know" "I don't know" about every question i ask. If your not gonna run this operation in a serious manner--then outsource it!

  9. Obviously nothing matters to this AD. They lose 1/2 a million in ticket sales and its okay.

    Sad and pathetic jumbled into one travesty.

  10. Kirkland---Real good points...What sad too is this team actually looked good in beginning. Yes Football is love of America, it's romantic, & fun, & being outdoors in Vegas can't get any better. If had a good team here, revenues would skyrocket as well as notoriety. Got make football work & get a champ team.

  11. Lets be clear about this heading into next season......winning record or .500 bowl bound or fired. No grey area on this.
    I don't know how he's going to recruit but if he pulls it off big thumbs up.
    I wish Livengood would have explained in detail his reasons for keeping Hauck.
    UNLV NOW project must be marketed now as a home for a possible MSL team, rodeo, BCS Bowl games, and last but not least home of the Rebels football team.
    6-32 just horrible I don't know how he will recruit, fill the stands I still don't think he gets it.
    He schedules 1:00pm games this is Vegas its a evening town move your start times back. Have the players walk through the Alumni tent and R.A.F tent to high five and interact with the fans. This is not Montana! Do things the Vegas way Coach Rice understands it Coach Hauck not a clue.
    Very disappointed but I will always cheer for my Rebs!

  12. This is really bad timing for this message to be sent. At a time when UNLV is pushing for an on-campus stadium (which is sorely needed for the future success of the program, IMO), nothing is being done about the plummeting interest in the program due to the repeated failures. Hauck should have been canned after the Northern Arizona game. Losing to an FCS team in the third year of a rebuilding project is completely unacceptable. However, the message has been sent that it is perfectly fine. The AD claims to be interested in the future of the football program, while his actions say otherwise.

    The right coach can make a world of difference. Bob Davie is taking New Mexico to a bowl game this year, one year after the Rebels handed them their only victory of the season. You cannot convince me that the talent level at UNM is so vastly superior to UNLV's that a quick turnaround was much easier there. This is clearly a failed experiment, yet the Athletic Department's failure to admit this will set the program back even further before the inevitable and necessary change takes place.

    Pretty soon, there will be no one left who cares. Years of futility beat down a fan base.

  13. This situation with the football team and the coaching staff is well past the point of ridiculous! If other first year hires can be successful, then UNLV can. If the powers to be will fire the entire enept bunch from the AD on down the money could be found to replace them with the right people. The booster's need to get off their fat bankrolls and shell out whatever it takes! Just do it already!! Merry Christmas!

  14. I took a moment to try and figure out how they felt they were "on the right path". In order to do so, I did some math, and I think I have it figured out.

    Since the last three years we have only had 6 wins, I decided to look at the percentage of losses that were by double digits (X=10 or more points).
    I then took the data and run it for scores that were (X=7 or more points).
    I counted all the losses each season, and calculated to the nearest whole # the percentage of losses that were more then the variable.

    10 Point or Greater Difference
    Results are new to old
    Hauck se3 - 55% (6 of 11 losses were by 10+pts)
    Hauck se2 - 90% (9 of 10 losses were by 10+pts)
    Hauck se1 - 100% (11 of 11 losses were by 10+pts)
    Sanford (se final) - 86% (6 of 7 losses were by 10+pts)

    7 Point or Greater Difference
    Results are new to old
    Hauck se3 - 64% (7 of 11 losses were by 7+pts)
    Hauck se2 - 100% (10 of 10 losses were by 7+pts)
    Hauck se1 - 100% (11 of 11 losses were by 7+pts)
    Sanford (se final) - 86% (6 of 7 losses were by 7+pts)

    If we look at talent levels that have been reported, we can speculate that that may have translated in the percentage change of improvement. Other then that we are really no better off then before

  15. If Hauck and his bosses truly believe they are on the right track, then why does Hauck have to fire either of his coordinators or any of his assistants?

    Answer: Because they are not performing well and are not seemingly on the right track.

  16. Maybe a miracle can happen and the Rebels can come up with $50 million to hire Jim Harbaugh away from the 49ers.

  17. I get both sides of the argument. I like what Hauck has done in recruiting, development, and building a foundation from NOTHING. Given all the hurdles associated with UNLV football, its not too shabby. He's redshirting everybody and banking on yrs 4 & 5. There is no question we are a more talented, physical, and competitive team. We went toe to toe with some good teams early on with a chance to win in the 4th quarter. He has a long term plan & he is executing it & you'd have to be blind not to see improvement. He definitely deserves 100% credit for all those things.

    But then he turns around & loses to SUU & NAU. Gets blown out by scrub teams like CSU & Hawaii...which makes it impossible to legitimize the "progress" we saw with our own eyes earlier. The schemes & game management/play calling baffle the mind. And this vs beatable teams too. That failure is 100% Hauck. It is almost as if he is a legit program builder...but not a game winner. He better shake up his staff.

    Continuing down this path sucks. The financials prohibit getting a name in here & starting over from scratch with another "up & comer" sucks too. Not a lot of good options. Its do or die next year for sure. And justifiably so.

  18. Maybe you all should read the article rather than interject a bunch of opinions. The program is at a disadvantage against virtually every program in the nation from a sales perspective for any high caliber recruits. Therefore it has to rely on the coaches and their ability to attract. Hauck has that. He has the resume and that's a fact. No major recruit wants to jump in a car and drive across town to see the playing facility. Nobody not anywhere period. Fact. Until they have a facility on campus that can attract the student body and create a true college football atmosphere this problem will exist. The team is competitive. Almost is a tough sell but in this business it is called progress. Next year when he posts his 6+ wins it will be funny reading the comments. We have faith in you Bobby. Go Rebels!

  19. I'm not going to bash Hauck. His record is what it is. Plus he's more desperate than anyone right now. If he gets fired who knows when and at what level he will get another opportunity to lead a program again.

    The question is...they get rid of Hauck then what? UNLV does not have the money for 2 years worth of buyouts. Who can will they attract. I still contend that grabbing a D-II was and is the way to go. There cheap and there's real talent there. However grabbing a guy from Montana in D-II is like grabbing coaches from Boise St. Not named Peterson. The gravy train is rolling and you can't tell if there's real talent there.

  20. Gravy train may not be rolling.Terrible OLine.Sherry will not survive.Terrible DBacks who get burned easily.I'd love to be QB playing UNLV.Plus they looked like they did not want to play. It is dangerous to play & not be emotionally ready cuz other team is up & they will injure the downtrodden.Coaches just didn't show enthusiasm or get them emotionnally charged & that reflects Hauck.Do these kids like Hauck & want to play for him.When I played JC ball coach jerk & we didn't play for him & same result I saw UNLV as with us.Just makes me wonder about coaches.

  21. Well WKU hired Bobby Petrino

  22. Who are the new Off/Def coordinators?