Montana coach's protest of student paper sheer bully behavior
A couple days ago, I had never heard of the man known as
This might come as a shock to Bobby Hauck, in that homo Sapiens of his ilk --egomaniacal collegiate football coaches who go by boyhood nicknames, speak of "The Program," puff out their chests and wear free shirts provided by sneaker companies -- believe themselves to be otherworldly morphings of John Rambo,
Yet it is indeed true. Before this week, the only Hauck I knew of was
It was -- and still is -- a refreshing attribute: the ability to step back and maintain perspective.
Alas, Bobby is no Ralph.
In a move that even Division I college football coaches never pull, Montana's seventh-year sideline maven is leading his team in a boycott of... Iran's nuclear program? No. The exclusion of
Why such a stand? Because when Bobby Hauck's football program doesn't get its way, Bobby Hauck apparently morphs into a 3-year old. The whole ordeal dates back a month ago, when the
Thus began The Boycot (Not) Heard Around Missoula...
"Bobby can be really tough, because he takes the coverage of his team very personally," said
"Bobby once told me that he thought we could be great friends ... 'go out on the lake and tip some beers,' but then we'd come back to work and nothing would have changed because he was very cognizant of a divide between him and the media."
At a recent weekly news conference, a
"You want something from me now?" the coach replied. "You've got to be kidding me."
A week later, the student journalist tried again, tossing another harmless question about the defense.
"I'll give you this, you're persistent," the coach replied. "Who's next?"
Here's who's next: me.
I am a columnist for
In fact, I called Hauck ... left the man a message. He responded a day later. Through a colleague. With a statement. This statement: "In a show of unity by our players, and to protest what they believe has been unfair and biased reporting of our program, they have decided to no longer talk to the student newspaper. As their coach, I support their decision."
(Generally speaking, pinning behavioral stupidity on your players is an even worse move than, say, locking out the student newspaper in a town where -- on a good day -- you're covered by three media outposts. And even if your athletes did decide to protest, it's your job -- as a presumed educator -- to do the opposite; to pull the student writers aside, explain your gripe and try to work it out in a mature manner.)
For its part, the