DAVIS, CA -- The No. 18 Montana Grizzlies make their way to California Saturday to open Big Sky Conference play against the No. 4 UC Davis Aggies.
Montana coach Bobby Hauck is one of the most experienced coaches in the league, but his resume isn't quite as long as Davis head coach Dan Hawkins.
Across his 36 year career, Hawkins has had head coaching stints at Willamette, Boise State, Colorado, and even the Montreal Allouettes of the CFL.
In their weekly press conferences, both coaches clearly had a lot of mutual respect toward each other and their respective programs.
"Hawkins is old, he's coaches a long, long time," Hauck laughed. "It's nice to be the young guy on the other sideline."
But there's no joking about the team Hawkins has put together over the past three seasons, which inlcuded the 2018 Big Sky Conference championship.
"They have a real experienced staff, know how to get them lined up," Hauck said. "Hawk's got his way of doing things, for a long time. It's evolved over time, but he has certain beliefs. He's a football guy through and through, he loves the game. His approach is unique to him and it's working really well at Davis."
Hauck and Hawkins have battled plenty over the years, including when Hauck's final season as an assistant at San Diego State in 2017.
Davis might have won the league title last year, but Hauck won seven straight from 2003-2009. And Hawkins knows the road to a Big Sky title goes through Missoula.
"Obviously, they've been a cornerstone in this conference and have invested heavily in their football program," Hawkins said. "(Hauck's) a good coach, he's been around and they're certainly equipped to win."
Montana and UC-Davis kick off at 2 p.m. (MDT) at UC-Davis Health Stadium.