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Goodbye to the ‘Little General’
by Harry Spencer
Jan 07, 2013 | 3578 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The No. 1 news story of 2012 coming out of the University of Nevada was the abrupt resignation of football coach Chris Ault. To say that the sports community was in a state of shock would be an understatement. The feisty Ault who had several turns as head football coach at the U gave no indication of his decision before the hastily called news conference.

Apparently the recent bowl loss to Arizona earlier in December had a great deal to do with his wish to resign. The one-point loss was typical of the entire 2012 season. Nevada seemed to play great for about 58 minutes and then fall apart in the last two. Ault had both supporters and detractors during his lengthy tenure at the University and was always a good subject for a lively discussion.

As a Hall of Fame coach, his credentials cannot be questioned. He had a sterling won-loss record. His innovative Pistol offense may prove to be the hallmark of his college coaching career. Another important contribution would be the fact that he was the only college coach in America to give the sensational Colin Kaepernick a chance to play football. Kap is now the darling of the Bay Area sports writers. In only his second year in the NFL he has already led the 49ers to the NFC West division championship. He was quick to announce that without Coach Ault he would not be where he is today.

Rumors as to the future of the University of Nevada football squad are most concerned with whether or not the Pistol offense will continue. During Coach Ault’s tenure the offense was always spectacular but the defense was woefully lacking. It might be a time for a change in direction.

Since Ault himself was a very talented quarterback during his playing days, he would naturally lean toward the “O” side of the ball. Another of his strategies was to find and develop sterling running backs. His latest find, Stefphon Jefferson, unfortunately will not be back to continue his career at the university level next season since he is opting for the NFL Draft. That may have been another factor in Ault’s surprising decision.

Whatever the future holds for the former Nevada coach is still an open question. There is great speculation that he will find a niche in the NFL as an offensive coordinator or in some other advisory capacity.

The University of Nevada has been fortunate to have had several long-tenured Athletic Directors, a post to which Ault rose following such legendary names as Dick Trachok and Jake Lawlor. No matter what path Ault chooses to pursue in the future, his name will be well secured in the University’s Legacy Hall.

It will be interesting to see how well his successor is able to live up to his (Ault’s) standards.

Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.
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