Report: Hauck to return as Montana football coach

UNLV coach Bobby Hauck calls a play to his team during the second half of an NCAA football game against San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/David Becker)

(STATS) – The Montana Grizzlies hope bringing back Bobby Hauck as football coach will mean a return to glory for the storied program.

Hauck, who went 80-17 and led seven straight Big Sky Conference championship seasons while guiding Montana from 2003-09, has been considered the frontrunner for the Grizzlies’ opening, and Skyline Sports reported late Wednesday that he’s been rehired, pending approval of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

Hauck, 53, has been part of San Diego State’s staff the last two years and currently serves as special teams coordinator and associate head coach.

Montana has sought a new coach since athletic director Kent Haslem announced on Nov. 20 that Bob Stitt’s contract would not be renewed following three seasons and a 21-14 record.

The Grizzlies fell short of qualifying for the FCS playoffs the last two seasons for the first time in back-to-back years since 1991-92. Hauck’s return as coach would bring expectations of Montana returning to the top of the Big Sky – the largest conference in the FCS – and as a national title contender.

Hauck’s Grizzly teams went 47-6 in conference games and the Big Sky’s three-time coach of the year led them to the national championship game in 2004, ’08 and ’09 – all ending in losses. But his tenure also was plagued by off-the-field issues, including numerous player arrests and run-ins with the law.

Following the 2009 season, Hauck resigned at Montana to become the coach at UNLV. He had a 15-49 record in five seasons before he stepped down from that position.