Chris Ault spent 42 years with the Nevada Wolf Pack, which included a student-athlete, head coach and an administrator role. During those four decades, Ault had helped build up Nevada to be a well respected programs. For Ault to announce his retirement from the school that had been so much of his life wife had to be very difficult.
Ault actually wanted to retire right after Nevada fell to Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl, but president Marc Johnson convinced Ault to think about it for week. Coming off that emotional loss to Arizona, Johnson felt Ault was making a rash decision.
Ault eventually retired, and he felt the main reason was that he took the program as high as it could under his watch. He kept thinking about the handful of double-digit the team had give up over the past few years, and he keep coming back to that loss to Arizona:
"When I got home after that Arizona game, I was devastated," Ault said. "We should have won the game. We should have won that damn game. Period. And we didn't. And it's the same way we lost all those other games. I went back the past few nights and I thought, ‘If I haven't gotten it straightened out yet, then when am I going to get it straightened out?'
"Here we are one of the best offenses in the country and we couldn't get the defense there. The frustration came down to this: We kept losing games the same way. That can't happen, and I was in charge of everything. As we developed the Pistol offense, I think subconsciously our defensive players and coaches thought, ‘Well, we can just out-score folks. We can beat these teams 49-48."
The defense has always been an issue, and this year the passing game was an issue, in particularly the deep passing game which cost Nevada a few times this year.
With the Pistol offense, Ault was able to out scheme opposing coaches, but he was getting tired of having to squeeze the absolute most of the program each year. One issue is the Nevada budget which is $5 million, and that is more than $3 million below the Mountain West league average.
While Ault said that he had done the most with what he could do at Nevada, he is leaving the team in excellent shape. The offense is there and even if the Pistol is no longer the main offense, there are playmakers to keep things moving.
Perhaps the next head coach should be defensive minded, and then hire an offensive coordinator that can keep the innovation alive. For the sake of Nevada fans, lets just hope that Nevada does not have a down turn which New Mexico suffered when Rocky Long left, as he to said he did as much as he could for his program.