The Nevada Wolf Pack and Brian Polian have mutually decided to part ways with the fourth-year head coach, according to a release from the university.
“Coach Polian will leave an important legacy of academic excellence over four years while also bringing the Fremont Cannon home in 2016,” said athletics director Doug Knuth. “I am proud of our team and couldn’t be happier for the way they ended a tough season. The future is very bright for Wolf Pack football and I’m excited to watch and cheer for the team as they hunt for a championship in 2017.
“This decision is about finding a new head coach who will help us win a championship, and who will continue to build and strengthen relationships within our department, our campus, our alumni and our great community. The support from those constituencies is vital to the success of building a championship program.”
Polian also released a statement about stepping aside as the Nevada head coach.
“I appreciate the opportunity that I was given by President Johnson and the University of Nevada four years ago. I felt, and continue to feel, that we were building a solid foundation for this program. However, this season was fraught with adversity and in the end, we did not win enough games. Like every coach, I understand that this is a business. I wish we would have produced better results in 2016.
“Recognizing the frustrations of this year, there are also a number of things that I am very proud of. We have appeared in two bowl games, achieving only the fourth bowl win in the modern history of the program.
“Thank you to all of the people in the University and Reno communities that welcomed our family and treated us kindly. Thank you to all of the support staff in the athletics department that we had the pleasure to work with. Finally, a heartfelt thank you to the coaches and players who devoted themselves with passion and energy to the Wolf Pack Family – I appreciate each and every one of you.”
Those comments are all good for today, but last night Polian after the win had a different tone.
Polian's comments after beating UNLV last night. Perhaps the "mutually agree to part ways" wasn't so mutual. pic.twitter.com/4KkZS4VzSA— Chase Glorfield (@SirGingerBeard4) November 27, 2016
The key quote from that is “I’m worried about our team. If it happens [on getting fired] I absolutely disagree with it. If it does, that’s the business we chose. But I am not apologizing to anybody and I’m proud of our kids.”
Polian failed to make a bowl game for the second time in four years, and finished his 2016 campaign with a 5-7 record. As he said did get the Wolf Pack’s fourth-ever bowl win.
Overall, Polian was under .500 in Reno with a 23-27 record in four years and the two bowl game misses were double what former head coach, and college football hall of fame member, Chris Ault had in his second stint. Ault missed a bowl game for Nevada in 2004 and then from 2005 until he stepped down in 2012 went to a bowl game every year.
Polian was brought in from the outside to coach the Wolf Pack with no prior college head coaching experience or any significant coordinator experience. Polian came from Texas A&M where he was the special teams coordinator for one year in College Station, and prior to that held the same position at Stanford for two years.
In his 12 years of being paid to be a college coach prior to coming to Reno he was never once an offensive or defensive coordinator, but a special teams coach and a position coach for various offensive and defensive positions.
Seeing Polian and the school mutually agree to part ways is odd given that he is not retiring and that there was still a year left on his contract. However, one could not say this is not a shock as many were not happy about this season’s team which regressed while playing in a West Division that has only one bowl eligible team in 2016, and overall his Nevada coaching career was average at best.