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University of Montana football coach Bobby Hauck is no fan of the press, or at least not press that actually does its job by asking questions. But whether or not that's an appropriate attitude for the leader of the highest-profile sports team in the state, his recent behavior towards the UM student newspaper, the Montana Kaimin, is downright embarrassing. If he can't grow up, he needs to find a new job.

Commentary: UM Football Coach Way Out of Line

University of Montana football coach Bobby Hauck is no fan of the press, or at least not press that actually does its job by asking questions. But whether or not that’s an appropriate attitude for the leader of the highest-profile sports team in the state, his recent behavior towards the UM student newspaper, the Montana Kaimin, is downright embarrassing. If he can’t grow up, he needs to find a new job.

Back in September, as you may recall, the Kaimin reported (accurately) that two UM football players had been involved in a serious assault on another student, and the incident was kept quiet by the team and UM officials. The paper also pointed out (accurately) that this was the latest in a long series of violent off-the-field incidents involving football players, and called for more accountability and transparency.

Enraged that the Kaimin had the nerve to report on something he did not want reported, Hauck swore at the Kaimin reporter and threatened to ban him from covering the team, stating “You’re done for the day, and you’ll be done for the season if you keep bugging me abut this thing that I’ve answered four fucking times.” This from someone who is supposed to be a leader, an educator and a role model, and is after all an employee of the state of Montana.

At the insistence of top UM officials, Hauck grudgingly apologized for the obscenity – though not, notably, for his contemptuous and bullying attitude. Since then, according to a Kaimin editorial and a story in today’s Missoulian, Hauck has continued to insult and belittle Kaimin reporters, and may have ordered his players not to talk to the paper.

According to the Missoulian:

“At a recent weekly news conference, a Kaimin reporter asked Hauck whether he was going to continue rotating quarterbacks.”You want something from me now?” replied Hauck. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” A Missoulian sportswriter immediately followed up with the same question, to which Hauck provided an answer. At the following week’s news conference, the Kaimin reporter again asked a question – this one on how the Grizzly defense would defend against the speed of an opposing running back. Hauck’s reply: “I’ll give you this, you’re persistent. Who’s next?”

I’m offended that my tax dollars (and ticket purchases) would go to pay the salary of someone so petty and vindictive, regardless of the team’s record. I’d actually like to go to the game today against Eastern Washington – it should be a good one – but Hauck’s ridiculous behavior makes me decidedly less enthusiastic about Griz football.

The Missoulian, interestingly, initially responded to all of this with what amounted to an apologia for Hauck and his nominal boss, athletic director Jim O’Day. But when last week’s game-day edition of the Kaimin featured a story on an opposing coach, that apparently prompted a new look at the issue – and not from the sports department, but from reporter Chelsi Moy, herself a one-time Kaimin reporter.

Kudos to the Missoulian for taking on the issue, and kudos to the Kaimin for standing up to Hauck. It’s way past time for the coach, and the University, to act in a similarly responsible fashion.

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  1. Kaimin reporters need to grow up. If they cannot handle a coach ignoring questions unrelated to his job: to coach football, then they will not make decent reporters in any field especially athletics. If you want to know answers to discipline issues then go to someone whose job it is to discipline students, a dean perhaps. Anyone should be able to understand why a coach wouldn’t want to answer these discipline questions and how after continuous unthoughtful provoking on such issues he would decline to even consider answering any questions. I’d probably do the same thing. It is not a coaches job to cater to press issues unrelated to the game. A coach’s job description is actually available publicly by the university, try that out for a story before you queef over a confusion of jobs Jonathan Weber.

  2. Hunter, disciplinary issues are explicitly part of the coaches job, and in fact the incident in question was handled by the coach, not a Dean. The coach is also required to abide by the same code of conduct that applies to student-athletes, which can be summarized as “be respectful and be a good role model.”

    This isn’t the NFL, it’s a school football team. Furthermore, even in pro sports the coaches and players are required to interact professionally with the media (which, after all, has a big role in selling all those tickets). That’s part of the job. And if questions come up that you can’t or don’t want to answer, it’s not that hard to respond with a polite “no comment” rather than obscenities, threats and sarcasm.

  3. Hunter, Kaimin reporters have been asking the coach specific questions related to upcoming games, at press conferences, that he refuses to answer, unless re-asked by a reporter from a different publication. I’d be embarrassed if I realized I was acting this way, and I bet you would be too.

  4. bobby hauck is an academic moron and an embarrassment to any thinking montanan. he is so sorrowfully ignorant that he probably doesn’t even understand the basic concept of why this country has a free press.

    bobby hauck should not be anywhere near a college campus, much less being held up as a person to follow and emulate by impressionable young men who are just beginning to formulate the boundaries of their own personal values and sense of integrity. this is damaging to um’s players, and someone should show some courage over there and fire mr hauck.

  5. Successful men should not be subject to criticism, accoring to patriots. In Montana, that seems true in spades for football. Baldwin certainly seems to buy into that notion in a big way.

  6. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Hey, if ya can’t FIND any news, MAKE IT UP! Are there no REAL stories the kHymen wants to pursue? This is a joke. NO ONE cares what an offended kHymen reporter thinks about U. M. football. Boy has that paper gone down hill from its glory days. The kHymen really should be going after bad guys, NOT the freakin’ football coach! The ONLY thing embarrassing round these papers is this joke of a paper!

  7. larry- this coach covered up an assault by his players on a citizen of this town. an assault, mind you, that pitted 3 against one with all three of the football players ending by kicking the man while he was prostrate…kicking him repeatedly in the head into a concrete curb no less. they are extremely lucky this was not a homicide.

    after this cover-up was exposed by the student newspaper you vilify, bobby hauck proceeded to make things worse by swearing at the reporter and threatening the kaiman with retribution for doing their job.

    i don’t know about you, larry. but if there are thugs running around missoula capable of assaulting citizens in this manner with little or no regard for human life, i appreciate having a reporter and a paper with the courage to tell missoulians about it, regardless of who the perpetrators are or what their connections might be. also, what kind of message does this behavior on the part of their coach teach these young men?

    this kind of behavior by the players and the coach should not be rewarded by simply ignoring it. not unless you want lots more of it.

  8. Doglap has always tended toward libertarianism; but until recently he was more sympathetic with the more progressive of his fellow social darwinists.

  9. It’s a shame that this type of coaching behavior is tolerated, especially at this level which is far removed from division 1 football.
    It would be interesting to know the story behind the firing , by Hauck, of Father Hogan a couple of years ago. If I recall, that news was blacked out also.
    I believe the program has a group of good kids….the mentor is the problem.
    Ever wonder why, with his winning record, other colleges aren’t recruiting him?

  10. It is a tad suspicious that the Missoulian didn’t send one of their talented sports reporters to talk with Hauck. Maybe they did and he refused them comment, too. But, I suspect the Missoulian worries that Hauck would stop answering their questions, too.

    When two esteemed journalism professors stand behind the Kaimin’s reporting, you might guess Hauck is in for more trouble. Not a very good time for the UM President to be in Europe, when the good name of his university is being damaged by one of his highest paid employees. Belittling students, and allowing his own student charges to do likewise, is not appropriate.

  11. Seems like someone should act like an adult in this situation. Might ought to start with the person over age 22. Show a little leadership and maturity Bobby. This crap would not fly outside of the sticks, and in the long run isn’t UM really just a stepping stone? You are really limiting your career options by acting like a ……… ugh, well you finish sentence.

  12. With all of the trouble members of the UM sports programs have with the law, seems to me there is an even bigger issue here, compounded by the arrogant attitude of this coach.

    By the way, I’ve always wondered: does the team probation officer report to the athletic director, or the coach?

  13. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Jed, I can just see the kHymen article on George Patton. “He SWORE and SLAPPED a soldier! It THIS the kind of general we want leading our troops? NO! We need a general who’s in touch with his own feelings, and his feminine side! It’s the U way!”

    Bobby was hired to win games. That’s what he does. And football players are tough guys. Sometimes tough guys get into fights. Always have, always will. It’s ONLY news at the kHyemn. Now, that being said, why doesn’t the kHymend interview fans at the game for THEIR reaction to their story? And then print’em.

    It’s just a leetle bit easier to whine from the press box than it is to actually PLAY the game on the field! And I think that’s how most folks view it. Whining vs. winning. Winners win and whiners whine. It’s called Nature, NOT social Darwinism.

  14. sometimes tough guys do get into fights larry, because they look for them. in this case though, with three against one, i think we are looking at three cowards picking a fight.

    i think vince lombardi was pretty tough. how do you think he would have reacted to his players acting this way?

    it is possible to win and still have courage and integrity, larry. you don’t have to settle for an arrogant ass in order to win. there is winning with pride and then there is winning with shame. i would rather see the griz lose with pride and courage than win with shame and cowardice…..

  15. “Why doesn’t the kHymend interview fans at the game??” That’s just laughable. Kinda like walking into a bar and asking the patrons what they think of DUI laws.
    Naturally most of the “fans” at a game would side with the coach IF they’re winning and most of these fans have no idea what big time football is really like. They look at the scoreboard and that’s the extent of their football knowledge….doesn’t matter if the opposition is Northeast Colorado Seminary or any of the other unknowns they play.
    How ’bout if they interview football fans that know something about the game and most likely stayed home or drove to Boise, Seattle, or Corvalis, Oregon to watch “real football”.
    Ask them what they think of a coach that belittles the press.
    Even Neuheisel let this clown go.

  16. “It would be interesting to know the story behind the firing , by Hauck, of Father Hogan a couple of years ago.”

    I suppose I should follow sports new more closely.
    Fr Hogan certainly struck me as probably antithetical to Hauck’s [i]raison d’ etre[/i]; but I hadn’t heard about his association with UM athletics.

  17. “It’s just a leetle bit easier to whine from the press box than it is to actually PLAY the game on the field! And I think that’s how most folks view it. Whining vs. winning. Winners win and whiners whine. It’s called Nature, NOT social Darwinism.”

    I’m curious, Larry. What has kicking a kid’s head up against a curb to do with sports?
    My own opinion of George Patton is probably not so favorable as yours. I think he was eccentric to the point of being certifiable.

  18. “Hauck did his job and the Kaimen doesn’t know theirs.”
    Wow! That’s an interesting comment. I thought investigative reporting was part of journalism????
    Let me guess…a person that makes a comment like that and defends actions attributed to the coach probably attends every game, drinks plenty at the tailgate parties on the back of his “big rig” or SUV, wears a Griz hat and jacket, and screams at the refs for every penalty against the Griz.

  19. Hauck probably won’t get a second look as a 1-A head coach because of the off-field incidents. It would seem this is the only thing holding him back. What school is in a postition to spend millions on a coach with a track record of players with disciplinary problems? Maybe this is why he hoped for this latest incident to stay on the ‘down-low’– And he would have got away with it, if it wasn’t for those meddling kids at the Kaimin!

  20. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

    Methinks that someone at the Khymen may have been the butt of cruel pranks in high school from the jocks. Such are the tribulations of nancy boys!

  21. When did you become such a knotheaded jock, lapdog?
    How deep in your kindling box do you [i]environmental rangers[/i] bury that kind of homophobia?

  22. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that Larry was Hauck’s PR adviser. “Yeah, Bobby, show them who’s boss. Use some profanity to show them you mean business. If you cow them, they probably won’t write anything.”

    Meanwhile, Hauck digs a deeper and deeper hole, one that’s getting harder by the day to crawl out of. He is not only embarrassing himself and the university, but he is damaging his future prospects in coaching. Just dumb, dumb, dumb.

  23. The story goes national: ESPN says “The Montana administration should put an end to that kind of nonsense ASAP” (h/t j-girl):

  24. I am an avid UM football fan as are my three boys, ages 13, 10, and 8. Like all parents, I am raising my boys to have solid values, values such as accountability, the golden rule, and respect towards everyone — and I mean everyone.

    In doing so, I strive to point out examples of great leaders whose leadership is centered and driven by values. Of course, my challenge, like all parents’ is the constant ‘anti-examples.’

    No greater example exists in college football, then our current football coach. I am asked by all my boys. Why does this person in a leadership position of young men continue to (a) keep his job, and (b) never get reprimanded?

    I love to see Montana win. Personally, I love to win. But what kind of example are we setting for our kids when we enable and allow this type of behavior? How can we truly ask and expect our kids to act and lead with values when we are not demanding it of our football coach? When we are clearly just turning away, and muttering….”Well, at least he wins.”

    Winning is not worth a loss of our values.

  25. Heck, Kent,
    Bobby isn’t a problem:
    If you’re worrying about roll-models; and you’re holding up IIa football coaches for your boys to admire–or not–you’re just spinning your wheels!
    Our 44th president–and his entire administration–and our entire congress–and our supreme court–felt okay about torturing third-worlders; and our 45th president has barely spoken out against the practice.
    All that Hauck has done can’t hold a candle to that!–he is a saint!

  26. Let me get this straight – because other people have done worse things makes the bad things Hauck has done ‘saintly’.

    I must be on Mars or something….

  27. From time to time it is necessary to think, ollie. Compartatively speaking, bobby is a saint…

  28. using examples of bad behavior to excuse more bad behavior is a laundry chute to the basement of hell.

    if we continue to devalue integrity by holding up the lowest common demoninators like bobby hauck to use as examples for our kids as to how to be “successful” then we can never expect our kids to behave decently.

  29. Or perhaps it would be possible to teach the kids without demonizing somebody?

  30. or maybe this comment from espn sports………..

    The Bum (19) of the half-year is:

    A. Falcon Heene’s dad.

    B. Whoever invented and distributed the rumor that Jon Gruden is a “done deal” to Louisville and Steve Kragthorpe has already told his team he’s done. Um, no.

    C. Bobby Hauck, Montana coach. Nobody likes a bully, and that’s what Hauck has been to an easy target — the student paper at the school. Hauck has retaliated at a story in the paper, The Kaimin, about an alleged assault of a student by two football players. He has publicly belittled its reporters, refused to answer questions from the paper and the players have followed suit by declining to comment to Kaimin staffers. The paper responded by printing its GameDay section with a focus on the opponent, Cal Poly — pretty much its only recourse.

    Dash answer: C.

    you can read the column here…

  31. The board of Regents must act NOW and Order Hauck to answer any and all questions of the media at press conferences. Looks like it’s time to track down a problem Griz…saddle up…we’ve got work to do!

  32. Time for the truth-
    That school paper is sort of a pacifier for the fools that seem to wallow around in smut & emotional issues that unfounded. It used to be a good paper. What happened?
    Now if you think this paper and writer( re:the Coach)is so good, you probably think McDonalds is a 4 star restraurant.
    The Althletic Program at the U is recognized with high regard and respect.

    It is my recommendation- the writer LEAVES and the paper just print the truth and give the students the same.
    Check your math- as none of his salary comes from your pocket-
    I asure you, if you are respectful- write the truth- he is a gentleman.

  33. UofM sports are the reason the out-of-workers from Montana support the system at all. Most Montanans are severely anti-intellectual and Republican to the core.

  34. I think Larry K is right on. The Kaimin reporter has done a great disservice to himself, his profession, his paper, his school, and his community. A good reporter keeps on digging and finds creative ways to deal with the adversity that he or she is faced with. This reporter decided to play victim just because the Hauck stonewalled an attempt to attack two of his players. However, this reporter made it all about him. Instead of writing something about his school’s team, he decided to insult the entire University and community by writing a story about Cal Poly, just because he couldn’t handle the rejection. Unbelievably, his behavior was reinforced by two professors who said that he was being attacked for his “good reporting”. Now the whole thing is on the national news casting a dark cloud over the whole University. Way to go Kaimin!

  35. Reporters–especially journalism students–need to learn early on they will not be welcomed by the scoundrels among us.
    Roguery flourishes in the dark or in low-light. Otherwise reporters would serve no purpose at all.

  36. Marguerite Munsche

    I refer your bloggers to the MISSOULIAN September 19, 2009 “UM’s O’Day, victim’s father defend coach Hauck.” This article refers to the event in question, which happened LAST MARCH. Which was taken care of LAST MARCH.

  37. margarite munsche; you obviously don’t understand sportswriters if you think this is over with… this from yesterday…

    bobby hauck threw down the gauntlet by trying to intimidate some student journalists from doing their jobs as journalists…not only is this not over with. it hasn’t really even started yet. sportswriters from around the country are rallying to support these students. why aren’t you as a respected member of KUFM’s staff?

    and what about setting a bad example for the young men on his team by acting like a toddler? what does that say about a coach’s responsibility to set an example. i guess if you want a bunch of arrogant bullies to graduate from the UM he’s the perfect choice.

    making excuses for a bully will do no good at this point. bobby hauck is acting like a two year old and he needs to grow up. meanwhile, his treatment of these young aspiring journalists will inspire sportswriters all over the region and the country to take the flashlights out and inspect every dark dirty corner of hauck’s past. the columns by sportswriters from the NY times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and CNN are only the beginning. what bobby hauck has seen so far is a warning shot with the 4″ guns.

    taken care of? hardly, ms munsche. this hasn’t even started.
    sportswriters who support the journalism students haven’t even taken the canvas covers off of the 16 inchers yet. they are simply busy gathering their ammunition.

    by the way, no-one has disputed the facts about what these student reporters wrote. they know that it is a journalist’s job to get the fact right. i suggest you do the same before defending this boor.

  38. If you think Hauck feels under pressure now, wait’l he loses a game!

  39. Perhaps you’re correct; but then we’ll still be stuck with Dennison.

  40. old he is, young Horst. patience….. sharpening a very special pitchfork , lucifer is.

    i do know that governor schweitzer would certainly look forward to his retirement and later watching jag raise his leg on george’s gravestone, after doing a little jig. (that comment is to commemorate halloween early)