At the time it seemed more like a punchline than a prediction. Following his third consecutive two-win season as UNLV’s football coach, Bobby Hauck said earning year five would require a bowl game in 2013. And doing that would require at least six victories, the same number he had totaled during three years in Las Vegas. Many Rebels fans said Hauck had already been given more than enough time to prove himself, but then-UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood believed good things were coming. He wanted to see one more year.
Livengood wasn’t around to see it through—he left the university in May—but Hauck’s Rebels delivered all the same. UNLV set dozens of team and individual records on the way to a 7-5 record and a berth in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against North Texas.
As exciting as this season was for the fans who stuck with the program through many, many lean years, some believe this is only the beginning. A lot of that will depend on the guy leading the way. For the 2014-’15 season, Hauck must find replacements for key players like quarterback Caleb Herring and Tim Cornett, but overall, he brings back a lot of starters. And now that there’s a little success to sell, Hauck figures to have a better chance on the recruiting trail.
There are no guarantees that one good season will turn into two, but the focus in 2014 will be on how Hauck comes up with an encore—not how long he’s going to stick around.