Published Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 | 2:09 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 | 4:57 p.m.
In July at the Mountain West preseason media days, Bobby Hauck sat in a conference room in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and said he wouldn’t discuss his job security until after the season. He didn’t have to wait that long.
UNLV’s fourth-year football coach will be under contract through the 2016 season thanks to a new three-year contract announced today by interim athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy. The Board of Regents must approve the deal before it can be finalized.
“Bobby Hauck’s the right guy for this job,” Kunzer-Murphy said outside of Rebel Park, where UNLV prepared to practice for Saturday’s home game against San Diego State.
That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU and a victory would ensure the Rebels appear in their first bowl game since 2000. They’re already eligible for only the fourth appearance in program history and even if the Rebels lose it would take multiple upsets and a series of decisions to keep them out.
Kunzer-Murphy said she started talking to outgoing UNLV President Neal Smatresk about a new deal for Hauck a few weeks ago. They all agreed to it Tuesday.
Terms of Hauck’s new three-year contract were not disclosed but Kunzer-Murphy said it would include a raise. Hauck’s original three-year deal paid him $350,000 annually with a $450,000 bonus after three seasons, effectively paying him half a million per year. The extension signed in 2011 to stay under contract through 2014 kept him at the same annual salary.
This season Hauck has equaled the win total (six) of his first three seasons combined. Overall the former Montana coach is 12-37 at UNLV.
“My family loves living in Las Vegas and I’m excited to tell our team and staff that now we can keep pursuing developing this program,” Hauck said.
The Board of Regents are meeting Dec. 5-6 in Las Vegas but Hauck’s contract won’t be on the agenda for approval because UNLV missed the cutoff date for adding agenda items. There’s a tentative special meeting on the schedule for Jan. 24, likely in light of Smatresk’s impending departure. Hauck’s deal could be approved on that date.
The announcement comes at an important time. On Sunday, Hauck and his staff will hit the road to work on building the upcoming recruiting class.
“It’s critical for recruiting,” Hauck said.
Not only for recruiting the players, he added, but also for recruiting his own staff to return. The contract provides some security for them as well as Hauck. And it answers any questions his current players may have had about the immediate future.
“They’re not oblivious to what goes on and what’s said,” Hauck said.
Most questions about Hauck’s job security started to fade away when the Rebels notched their first four-game winning streak since 1984. Since then they have also achieved a winning road record (3-2) for the first time since 2003 and they also have a chance to win seven games for only the third time in nearly three decades (1994 and 2000). Both of those seasons ended with trips to the Las Vegas Bowl.
That game is the only one of six Mountain West-affiliated bowl games that’s not on the table for UNLV. The most likely destination is a trip to the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
For a lot of Rebels one game is as good as the next. It wasn’t that long ago that any bowl trip or a new contract seemed far-fetched. Now Hauck knows he can get comfortable.
“I like what I do,” Hauck said, “and I like doing it here.”