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Montana Hauck Football

Bobby Hauck wrapped up his stint as San Diego State's special teams coordinator in the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.

There is no basis for blaming Bobby Hauck for setting the stage for later Missoula sexual assault issues which started to come to light in December 2011, or for the eventual federal investigation of sexual assault in Missoula.

There were no reports of sexual assault by Griz players in Hauck’s seven years at the University of Montana; 2.75 years after Hauck left for UNLV, a Missoula kid recruited by Hauck pleaded guilty to sexual assault.

None of the other players even mentioned, let alone implicated, in sexual assault, several years after Hauck left, were Hauck recruits.

Jon Krakauer’s book “Missoula” doesn’t even mention Hauck. Don’t you think Krakauer would have mentioned Hauck if he had been involved?

Coach Robin Pflugrad, not Hauck, recruited Jordan Johnson. Johnson committed to UM in early January 2010 when Pflugrad was the coach. Source: Missoulian. Pflugrad had known Johnson for many years, because he had known Johnson’s father for decades and his son played at the same high school as Johnson. Source: Pflugrad.

Johnson was acquitted, remained in school, kept his scholarship, finished his football career, graduated from UM, and eventually received a $245,000 settlement from UM for its unfair treatment of him. A federal judge criticized UM: “... the process applied to Plaintiff Doe [Johnson] and the behavior of University officials in investigating and prosecuting this matter offends the Court's sense of fundamental fairness and appears to fall short of the minimal moral obligation of any tribunal to respect the rights and dignity of the accused.”

The recent Missoulian article discussing incidents involving 12 players (only 10 of whom were charged with anything) was misleading. The house burglary (three players) and the fight (three frosh) were unfortunate, but Hauck promptly kicked all six players off the team, and only two had ever played in a game. Charges for two players were later dropped. So, at most, eight of those 12 players ended up with a conviction or plea.

The Jimmy Wilson matter received considerable negative press. While visiting his family in the summer in southern California, Wilson went to help his aunt who had just been beaten unconscious with a hammer and urinated on by her gang member boyfriend. Wilson then defended himself when the gang member came at him with a rifle. In the struggle, the rifle discharged. Due to self-defense, Wilson was acquitted. He returned to UM to finish his football career, was drafted by the National Football League, played multiple years in the NFL and didn’t have issues after leaving Missoula. Wilson is a success story of perseverance and redemption, in my view. I am proud of UM for giving him a second chance.

Except for the house burglary and fight, and lots of bad press, Hauck’s players didn’t have an abnormal level of bad behavior over his seven years, if looked at objectively. Hauck was the strictest and biggest disciplinarian of any Griz coach in the last 40 years.

By contrast, in the past three years, there were nine players with criminal issues. I don’t blame the coaches for any of those issues.

Enrollment increased steadily while Hauck was at UM and continued rising after he left. In fiscal year 2012, enrollment was still higher than when Hauck left in 2009. The big declines were FY13–FY17.

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Jack Manning is an avid Griz fan and Missoula lawyer who follows the program, including off-field issues, closely. 

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