MISSOULA — “Bobby!”
Former Montana football coach Joe Glenn belted out that name from across the room when he saw current Griz coach Bobby Hauck walk into the Canyon Club on the east side of Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Glenn got up from his chair and embraced Hauck with a hug and back pats that lasted nearly seven seconds before the two iconic coaches caught up on how their summers were going.
“Well, that’s quite the pair there,” former Griz quarterback Marty Mornhinweg remarked about Glenn and Hauck, who combined to lead the Griz to a Division I-AA national championship, five title-game appearances and 10 Big Sky Conference crowns from 2000-09.
Mornhinweg was back in town for his third annual quarterback camp. This year, he added a coaches clinic, which is what brought the recently retired Glenn back to Missoula three decades after he was Mornhinweg’s position coach from 1981-1984.
“Marty and I have stayed close ever since we were here together,” Glenn said. “I love the area. I have a lot of friends here. I love the school. It’s a chance to help an old friend who helped us win a conference championship in 1982. And a chance to get to know his family. Just a chance to see some old friends here in town and go grab a burger at the Mo Club.”
More importantly for the area high school coaches who came to the clinic, Glenn shared his acumen about running an offense. And it’s not every day they get to hear from the man who led the Griz to the national title in 2001 and a runner-up finish in 2000 while posting a 39-6 record.
As for what Glenn remembered the most about his three-year run at Montana, it was simple: the people.
“Fortunately, I get to stay in touch with some of them now that I’m retired and they have this deal called Facebook,” Glenn said with a smile. “I get to hear how they’re having children and you get to follow them. It’s been a lot of fun watching them become parents and adults in this world.
“I would have to say that the Kodak moment was getting another chipper against Furman, but it wasn’t that so much as it was just the whole run for those three years. Really good kids. I inherited a terrific football team. Man, they were really good.”
During his 45-minute presentation, the jovial Glenn walked through snap exchanges, drills for catching passes, play-action passes and play designs, among other things. He did it all with a loud voice, partly so he could hear himself because of his diminishing hearing, but also because of the excitement he still has about football.
Among those in attendance was Sentinel head coach Dane Oliver, who played under Glenn before Hauck took over his senior year. To him, it was evident Glenn’s passion for the game is still there, even four years after he retired.
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“It brings a smile to your face,” Oliver said. “It kind of brings back some fond memories of a great time in your life with the stories he tells and the energy he brings to the game of football. Nostalgia would be the word for me right now coming back full circle where I’m a coach and he had a pretty profound impact on my life. Just to be around him and his presence, it’s a special moment.”
Now 70 years old, Glenn’s daily schedule starts with reading the newspaper, watching CNN and drinking coffee. Then it’s out for a walk with his wife and a lot of golfing.
“She’s really good for a woman. I’m really bad for a man,” Glenn said with a laugh. “She’s getting better, and I’m getting worse.”
Glenn’s wife made the trip with him to Missoula, where he was one of five featured speakers. The rest of the lineup included Hauck, Mornhinweg, former Carroll College coach Mike Van Diest and Mornhinweg’s son Skyler, who is the quarterbacks coach at Midwestern State in Texas after spending the 2018 season as a graduate assistant at Ohio State.
Hauck, who took time out of his vacation to speak at the event, felt Glenn would provide great insight to the assembled group.
“Being able to listen to Joe, who’s always had a tremendous knack for getting the most out of his players and having them play their best when their best was needed, is something I’ve always admired out of him,” Hauck said as part of his introduction about each speaker.
Looking to the current Grizzlies, Glenn was optimistic Hauck would turn things around in the years to come after Montana went 6-5 in his first season, lost to Montana State for the third year in a row and failed to qualify for the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
“No sweat. He knows the drill,” Glenn said. “He won a gazillion games. He knows how to do it. It’s just getting his style going. That’s a no-brainer. They’ll get it going.”
Montana opens year No. 2 under Hauck on Aug. 31 with a road game at South Dakota, the school where Glenn played quarterback from 1968-71 and coached in 1974 and from 2012-15.
Glenn plans to be in attendance for the game in Vermillion, South Dakota. As for who he’ll be rooting for:
“Yes,” he said, pausing a second before laughing. “Everybody. This is a special place for me, but if you’d have seen the rag tag that South Dakota picked up in 1967 from Lincoln, Nebraska, and dusted me off and helped me become a college athlete and a college student, you’d know that I owe South Dakota a lot.
“Both places have just been fabulous in my life. It’s a tug of war. It sure is. I may be the only person there cheering for both teams. Just don’t ask me which side I’m going to sit on.”