Class of 2017
The Start of a Legend
Recruiters of Montana Division-1 football have never made a more substantial mistake than failing to recognize the potential athletic attributes of Big Timber’s Tim Hauck.
While an All-State trackster, basketball player and quarterback-defensive back and state pole vault champion (14feet, 4 inches), he was undersized as a 13-letterwinner prep and opted to attend Oregon’s Pacific University, a Division III private school in Forest Grove, where he was an All-Conference safety as a freshman.
Although a walk-on at the University of Montana, Hauck quickly made his presence felt and had a pair of interceptions during the spring game in Havre.
On venerable Don Read’s first team in 1986 – he now was listed at 170-lb – and although a walk-on came out of spring ball at the top of the depth chart and quickly earned a starting cornerback slot.
After starting all 11 games in 1987 (now wearing the legendary legacy No. 37) and trailing only veteran All-League choice Mike Rankin in tackling, he was accorded honorable mention All-Conference status and awarded the Golden Helmet as the team’s most vicious tackler.
The coveted No. 37 handed down season-to-season and worn by an in-state player judged among other things to best represent the program’s traditions.
It was first worn by the recently graduated Kraig Paulson, who joined the coaching staff after graduation.
Listed by Montana as an Honors Candidate “Hitter,” the nickname he earned for how he played, moved to strong safety for his junior season in 1988 and responded with a banner campaign that resulted in AP First Team All-American status and being chosen the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Now a starter in 22 consecutive games at strong safety-outside backer, Hauck now stood as one of the top tacklers in UM history (90 of the 176 unassisted) and has six picks along with six blocked kicks.
Again starting each of 11 games in his senior season, Hauck made an additional 129 tackles, blocked another three kicks and picked off seven interceptions while scoring twice.
In a 52-37 home pasting by Fresno State “Hitter” had 25 tackles, fumble recovery for a score and an interception.
He again was chosen the Defensive Player of the Year and won his third consecutive Golden Helmet.
Hauck as a first-team All American in five polls was a finalist for the Walter Payton and was named to the roster of the Japan Bowl.
The Big Sky Conference lists Hauck as the No. 46 all-time player in circuit history.
And the Grizzlies had enjoyed three winning campaigns (25-12) and had qualified for the 1-AA playoffs in consecutive years while for the first time playing in the semi-final game in ‘89.
Much like high school, Tim was overlooked in the draft but quickly signed as free-agent deal with New England.
When hearing the name Tim Hauck, most people aren’t flooded with memories of his 6 forced fumbles, 1 interception, dependable attitude, hard hitting style or 379 tackles. Actually, when you mention Tim Hauck to the football knowledgeable, most will only remember one play.
But those who knew Tim Hauck, or watched him play realized that whatever Hauck had, he’d give it to you. Guaranteed.
Tim Hauck played 14 seasons, totaling 183 games for seven different franchises, the Patriots, Packers, Broncos, Seahawks, Colts, Eagles and 49ers. He served as a starting safety, backup defensive back, special teams player and veteran leader for a Philadelphia Eagles team that needed each of those parts to accomplish the model franchise they’ve become today.
Hauck was known as a voracious hitter throughout his 14 seasons
In 1999, Hauck served as the starting strong safety in Andy Reid’s first year. He was an integral part of a solid defense and noted of rookie Donovan McNabb; "I knew Donovan would be special, because I played with the Colts when Peyton (Manning) was a rookie. That year (1998) Manning was thrown to the wolves, leading the league in interceptions. Both rookies had great size, and a calm pocket presence. And McNabb's ability to elude tacklers as a rookie in practice jumped out at me." 1
That season was also the last for Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Michael Irvin, something Hauck took part, though it’s important to note it’s something he doesn’t revel in. "First of all, I think a few Eagles fans put me on a pedestal, because everybody hated the guy. But my intent was never to hurt him," suggested Hauck. "I saw him run a slant route, and when I went to tackle him he actually ducked under me and I saw his head go into the turf. I barely got a piece of him. And the league never once fined me for that hit on him.”
Hauck moved into a backup role in 2000, as a fiery Eagles team marched into the playoffs and cemented their status as a rising elite team. The highlight of Hauck’s season included a crucial onside kick recovery in the 26-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But Hauck’s favorite moment occurred in 2001, when the upstart Eagles bullied the Chicago Bears in Soldier field in the icy cold of January 33-19. Hauck’s highlight was forcing a fumble late in the game and closing out any hope the Bears had and leading them into the first of many NFC title game appearances.
Hauck retired after his 2003 season with the 49ers. Hauck then went on to join his brother, Bobby, at the University of Montana serving as a special assistant for the safeties and later becoming the defensive backs coach. After serving one year as the secondary coach, Hauck was offered the opportunity to serve in the same position under Rick Neuheisel’s new staff at UCLA. But to this fan, Hauck will always be remembered as a tough player, someone who would do whatever is asked and, of course, as the man who ended Michael Irvin’s career.
Hauck was hired as the UCLA safeties coach in 2008, then moved to Tennessee as an assistant secondary coach from 2009-10.
He moved on to Cleveland as a defensive back coach in 2012 and became defensive coordinator-cornerback coach again under his brother at UNLV in 2013.
When his brother left UNLV, and eventually moved on to San Diego State, Hauck became a defensive back coach in January, 2016, for Philadelphia where he continues to coach today.
Written by Mick Holien for the Montana Football Hall of Fame