University of Montana head football coach Bobby Hauck earned $36,000 in incentives in the most recent season, partly thanks to the Grizzlies' top grades.
In late 2017, UM announced Hauck would return to the Grizzlies, and his contract offered roughly $138,000 of incentives on top of a base salary of $185,000. Hauck had initially coached at UM from 2003 to 2009.
Had the coach hit all the marks, he'd have pulled in a salary above that of UM President Seth Bodnar, who earns a base of $320,122. Some coaches of higher-profile football teams easily surpass the compensation of their campus presidents, but that isn't necessarily the case in the Big Sky Conference — or most recently with Hauck.
In a recent interview, UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam said the Grizzlies are hoping to shell out all the bucks to Hauck in the coming year.
"If he hits all of it, we love it because we just won a national championship," Haslam said.
The national championship win would earn the coach an extra $30,000. Other examples of athletic incentives includ winning conference coach or co-coach of the year, worth $5,000; and playing an NCAA FBS, or Football Bowl Subdivision, team during the non-conference season, worth $15,000.
In the 2018 season, Hauck earned four of the 17 contract incentives, including one for a team grade-point average. The football team set a record 2.99 GPA in spring 2018, and then bested it last fall. All told, Hauck pulled in the following:
- $6,000 for a team grade point average of 3.03,
- $20,000 for attending all Grizzly Scholarship Association functions,
- $5,000 for defeating a non-conference FCS, or Football Championship Subdivision, opponent that was a playoff qualifier within the past two seasons, and
- $5,000 for increasing attendance.
"We had a better year last year, and it's trending nicely again this year," Haslam said of attendance.
"We still just at a large margin generate far more revenue than our FCS or conference peers for sure, and we generate more than most FCS schools and probably the top FCS schools, and rival a lot of schools that are much larger than us."
The rehire of Hauck was controversial. A group of faculty called for the administration to reconsider his contract, and contended his earlier tenure contributed to a climate that led to federal investigations of the campus for mishandling sexual assault.
Community members countered with a petition in support of Hauck, and Haslam said he attributes some of the 1,609 additional attendance to his return. Total attendance was 144,898. Haslam also said the game against Montana State at home contributes to solid attendance.
"That's a high-ticket, sold-out game. That certainly helps our revenue," Haslam said.
The concerns about off-the-field actions by players were cemented into Hauck's contract. The first four incentives in the contract relate to academic performance, as they did in the past, but the potential awards increased.
In the most recent year, Hauck missed the $7,500 incentive for a four-year average academic progress rate score of at least 950. The most recent year available through the NCAA is 2017 to 2018, and it notes UM reached a score of 947, a calculation based on team members' academic eligibility and retention; UM hit the 950 mark the previous school year and surpassed it in 2015 to 2016.
Hauck also didn't earn the $7,500 incentive for maintaining a graduation success rate equal to or higher than the overall Division I FCS rate. He also missed the $3,000 incentive for "no '0-for-2' football student athletes," which refers to "a student-athlete who does not achieve the required academic eligibility standards and leaves the institution," according to the NCAA. (Haslam declined to note the number of students in this category; he said it is small enough that reporting could lead to identification.)
Under Hauck's previous tenure, the Grizzlies excelled in the classroom. Montana placed 104 football players on Academic All-Big Sky teams from 2003 to 2009 — the most, or second-most in the league each year. In each of those seasons, football student-athletes also graduated at a higher rate than their campus counterparts, including a 90% rate in 2005.