RENO, Nev. — Chris Ault raised Nevada football. After 28 years as coach, he felt he had taken the Wolf Pack as far as he could.
Ault announced Friday he was stepping down, leaving as the winningest coach in school history, already a Hall of Famer, and having changed the way teams play offense nationwide.
Under Ault, the Wolf Pack went from Division II to I-AA to I-A, winning at every level with some of the most prolific and innovative offenses in the country.
The 66-year-old won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to the postseason 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons. He finished with a record of 233-109-1.
“It’s with great humility and mixed emotions I’ve decided it’s time for me to step down and move on,” a tearful Ault said at a news conference. “Wolf Pack football firmly established a blueprint for success that can be sustained.”
Perhaps his most famous contribution came late in his career, when he invented the Pistol offense in 2005, a scheme now employed by hundreds of teams at every level of football. The Pistol formation has the quarterback in a short shot-gun formation with a running back lined up directly behind him.
“I’m proud that our offense has broadened the landscape of football. That’s exciting,” Ault said. “It’s here to stay, unlike the wishbone (offense).”
He said he reached the decision to step down after consulting with his wife, Kathy, and Nevada President Marc Johnson. He informed his staff and players of the decision Friday morning.
Ault first broached the subject after Arizona rallied to defeat Nevada, 49-48, in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15. The loss dropped Ault’s bowl record to 2-8 and Nevada’s season record to 7-6, including losses in five of its final six games.
With most of the Wolf Pack’s offensive starters and entire defensive front returning next season, Ault said, the timing was right to turn the program over to a new coach.
“I have focused on leaving the program in the best shape.” he said. “I’m sure it’ll be a sought-after position.”
While he has no plans to return as coach or athletic director at Nevada, he didn’t rule out coaching elsewhere. Nevada athletic director Cary Groth is also retiring after this school year.
Ault agreed to a two-year contract extension last February that would have brought his salary to $535,000 by 2015. That’s about half the average salary in the Mountain West Conference where he coached this season.
The overall budget of Nevada’s football program also is far less than other major football programs, and ranks near the bottom of the Mountain West, Groth said.
Asked whether the limited revenue and loss of coaches were factors in his decision, Ault replied. “All of that plays into the decision … I want to be a Top 25 program and we have that opportunity, but there are so many intangibles that I had to deal with.”
Ault was the only active Division I coach in the College Football Hall of Fame. This season, he passed Bear Bryant for most wins by a coach at his alma mater.
AP Source: McCoy,
Hicks suspended by Texas
Texas has sent home backup quarterback Case McCoy and injured linebacker Jordan Hicks on the eve of the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio for violating team rules, a person with knowledge of the suspensions told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Friday because the school wasn’t releasing the names of the players. The person said the players broke curfew.
Coach Mack Brown addressed the situation during a previously schedule news conference Friday and referred to a KENS-TV report that police were investigating two unidentified Texas players in an alleged sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel.
Sgt. Javier Salazar, a San Antonio police spokesman, said only that detectives are in the early stages of investigating a case of alleged sexual assault in the downtown area. Investigators are interviewing witnesses and collecting forensic evidence, he said.
player sues school, coach
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A former University of Louisville football player has sued the school and coach Charlie Strong and says he was coerced into covering up a beating in the locker room by a pair of teammates.
Former Cardinals defensive lineman Patrick Grant of Sunrise, Fla., alleges that two teammates attacked him Oct. 24, 2010, in the locker room at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and, according to the lawsuit, beat him “so badly that he required immediate, urgent care and nearly lost his left eye.”
Grant says that, while on the way to the hospital, the team’s trainer told him to “lie and cover up the fact that his injuries were at the hands of his teammates.”