The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, so they say. That idiom often seems to ring no truer than it does on the gridiron and, if we want to be specific about that tree... it’s a coaching one. This upcoming Saturday will be a special occasion for not one but two father-son duos and both just happen to be intertwined in the coaching circles of the Big Sky Conference. Family ties this weekend will be split for a few hours and it's bound to make for some big headlines and fun in-game moments.
It'll all start when Dan Hawkins takes his UC Davis squad on the road to face Idaho State.
Hawkins, who's been the head coach of the Aggies since 2017, is an alumni of the school and program. He's led UC Davis to a 39-30 overall record during his tenure and has won a conference title. Before UC Davis, though, Hawkins has been all over the college football map, most notably coaching Colorado from 2006-2010. While with the Buffaloes, Hawkins had the pleasure of coaching his son, Cody, who served as CU's signal-caller from 2006-2009. It marked the ninth time in Division I football history a father would coach his son who was a starting quarterback. The Hawkins pair did it well before Deion and Shedeur Sanders made it cool in Boulder.
Just this season, Idaho State hired Cody Hawkins for his first head coaching gig and he's got ISU fans excited about what's to come. Sitting at 3-6 right now, the Bengals already have more wins in 2023 than they've had over the last two seasons combined. Although they won't be a playoff team this fall, there's no denying that Cody is already turning things around.
In a few days the Hawkins tandem will reunite, just not on the same team. Idaho State, who has played a lot better than their record indicates, is going for win number four while the Aggies are trying for their sixth of the season. Cody even made the trip during the Bengals bye week to watch his dad coach. This Saturday, however, the pleasantries will be put aside for a while.
Then, a couple of hours after the "Hawkins Bowl" comes to an end, 660 miles to northwest in Portland, the Montana Grizzlies will do battle with Portland State. The Griz, of course, are led by veteran Bobby Hauck who just became the all time winningest head coach in Big Sky history last week. Hauck has guided Montana through some of the best years of its existence and will go down as arguably the best to ever do it in UM's storied history. Along with coaching the Grizzlies to seven league championships and three national title game appearances, his greatest joy had to be being behind the headset while his son Robby went through five years with the program.
Like his father, Robby etched his name into Montana record books by becoming the school's all time leading tackler during his stint. He established himself as a hard-hitting safety that was often a game changer for UM over the last five seasons. The Hauck name is known across many households in the Treasure State.
After graduating last year, Robby continued his career in football and joined Portland State's coaching staff as a nicklebacks coach and special teams assistant. It's his first coaching job and fresh out of college, it's impressive in its own right.
The Haucks will come together for the first time on opposite sidelines on Saturday night. Bobby's Grizzlies are eying their ninth win of what has been a very good season that will undoubtedly end in a playoff run. The Vikings, meanwhile, are looking to play upset and pick up their fifth win of the year.
If these two family clashes weren't quite enough, though, there will be one more ironic father-son rendezvous during the PSU-Montana game. Vikings head coach Bruce Barnum's son Cooper is a linebacker for the Grizzlies.
Football really is family and if you want proof, look no further than the Big Sky.