Montana’s coach blinks

hauckyelling

Last Friday I wrote this column for SI.com. It was a piece about Montana’s Bobby Hauck, a typical bully football coach who froze out the UM student newspaper when it ran stories he didn’t find especially flattering.

The reaction from Montana backers was pretty fierce. While some told me Hauck was, in their words, an ass, a thug, a jerk, a tool, most defended the man and his program—one which, within the past three years, has had 11 off-the-field incidents involving its players.

Anyhow, to Hauck’s credit (I guess), today he caved, finally allowing the student newspaper’s reporters to ask questions. He even opened his weekly press conference by noting: “There are some serious things in life and there are some things in life that are not serious. One of the things that is not serious is who is talking to whom … and the why of that. So I—because I can only speak for myself—will move forward from this date in a positive manner in terms of this press conference and the ones after our games.”

I’m glad Hauck changed his mind. It was clearly the right thing to do, and also a way to escape a very unflattering spotlight. But the whole aftermath to my column served as a reminder of how, eh, toolish college football fans generally are. For some odd reason, these people will overlook absolutely everything in the name of their team’s success. The letters I received indicated that, hey Hauck’s a winner; hey, the student newspaper overstepped a line and deserved its fate; hey, Hauck (who has a history of cursing out student reporters) is a gentleman on and off the field.

It’s weird, and sort of cult-like.

Go Griz!

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