Ault in September 2009
November 8, 1946|
San Bernardino, California, U.S.
St. Catherine's Academy|
University of Nevada, Reno
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1968||Fallon (NV) Churchill County HS (assistant)|
|1969–1971||Reno (NV) Bishop Manogue HS|
|1972||Reno (NV) HS|
|2013–2015||Kansas City Chiefs (consultant)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Tournaments||9–7 (NCAA D-I-AA playoffs)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
4 Big Sky (1983, 1986, 1990–1991)|
3 Big West (1992, 1994–1995)
2 WAC (2005, 2010)
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (1991)|
4x Big Sky Coach of the Year (1983, 1986, 1990–1991)
College Football Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2002 (profile)
Christopher Thomas Ault (born November 8, 1946) is a former American football player, coach and athletic director. He served three stints at the head football coach at the University of Nevada, Reno (1976–1992, 1994–1995 and 2004–2012), leading the Nevada Wolf Pack to a record of 234–108–1 over 28 seasons and guiding the program from the NCAA's Division II to Division I-AA in 1978 and then to Division I-A in 1992. Ault was also the athletic director at Nevada from 1986 to 2004. He was the school's starting quarterback from 1965 to 1968. He is a former consultant for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). Ault was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002, seven years after his first retirement from coaching in 1995.
After the 2004 season, Ault fired head coach Chris Tormey. He named himself as the replacement three days later, with the approval of school president John Lilley and the Nevada Board of Regents. A member of the university's faculty senate expressed concern at the perceived conflict of interest, especially because the salary of head football coach exceeded that of athletic director.
Ault is credited as the creator of the "Pistol Offense", which he instituted at Nevada in 2004. Since becoming the primary offense for Nevada, the Pistol has been used by other schools across the country. The San Francisco 49ers began employing the pistol offense with the emergence of former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Since installing the Pistol, Nevada has won shares of two WAC titles—in 2005 (with Boise State) and 2010 (with Boise State and Hawaii).
On December 28, 2012, Ault announced his retirement, effective at the end of the year. In an emotional press conference, Ault said the time had come to pass the program to a new coach. He had spent 41 years―all but seven years of his adult life―at Nevada as a player, coach or administrator.
On September 17, 2015, Rhinos Milano announced Ault as new head coach for the 2016 season. On July 9, 2016, he won his first Italian Football League Italian Bowl after an undefeated season and a 13 games win streak.
Education and family
Ault graduated from St. Catherine's Academy in Anaheim, California, graduated from University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor's degree in education in 1968 and went on to complete an M.B.A. in 1971. He is married to Kathy Ault and has three children: Lisa, Chris, Jr. and Amy.
Head coaching record
|Nevada Wolf Pack (NCAA Division II independent) (1976–1977)|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (NCAA Division I-AA independent) (1978)|
|1978||Nevada||11–1||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (Big Sky Conference) (1979–1991)|
|1979||Nevada||8–4||5–2||2nd||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|1983||Nevada||9–5||6–1||1st||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|1985||Nevada||11–2||6–1||2nd||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|1986||Nevada||13–1||7–0||1st||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|1990||Nevada||13–2||7–1||1st||L NCAA Division I-AA Championship|
|1991||Nevada||12–1||8–0||1st||L NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (Big West Conference) (1992)|
|1992||Nevada||7–5||5–1||1st||L Las Vegas|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (Big West Conference) (1994–1995)|
|1995||Nevada||9–3||7–0||1st||L Las Vegas|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (Western Athletic Conference) (2004–2011)|
|2006||Nevada||8–5||5–3||T–3rd||L MPC Computers|
|2007||Nevada||6–7||4–4||T–4th||L New Mexico|
|2010||Nevada||13–1||7–1||T–1st||W Kraft Fight Hunger||13||11|
|Nevada Wolf Pack (Mountain West Conference) (2012)|
|2012||Nevada||7–6||4–4||5th||L New Mexico|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
Head coach under whom Chris Ault has played:
Head coaches under whom Chris Ault has served:
Assistants under Chris Ault who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:
- Nigel Burton: Portland State (2010–2014)
- Tim DeRuyter: Fresno State (2012–2016)
- Jeff Horton: Nevada (1993), UNLV (1994–1998) and Minnesota (2010)
- Chip Kelly: Oregon (2009–2012), Philadelphia Eagles (2013–2015), San Francisco 49ers (2016) and UCLA (2018–present)
- Bobby Petrino: Louisville (2003–2006 and 2014–present), Atlanta Falcons (2007), Arkansas (2008–2011) and Western Kentucky (2013)
- Nick Rolovich: Hawaii (2016–present)
- James Spady: Alabama A&M (2014–2017)
- John L. Smith: Idaho (1989–1994), Utah State (1995–1997), Louisville (1998–2002), Michigan State (2003–2006) and Arkansas (2012)
- Jeff Tisdel: Nevada (1996–1999) and Sierra JC (2000–2005 and 2007–2012)
- List of college football coaches with 200 wins
- List of college football head coaches with non-consecutive tenure
- "Nevada AD Ault succeeds Tormey". The Seattle Times. December 4, 2003.
- "Ault deserves credit for coaching accomplishments". The Nevada Sagebrush. September 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 26, 2009.
- "2003-04 Faculty Senate minutes". University of Nevada, Reno. December 10, 2003.[dead link]
- "Nevada coach Chris Ault retires]". ESPN. December 28, 2012.
- "Una leggenda alla guida dei Rhinos: Chris Ault!". Rhinos Milano. September 17, 2015.