Polian said he plans to build on the “unbelieveable tradition” of his predecessor Chris Ault, and said upon visiting campus he is looking forward to being a part of the university’s community.
“I am very excited and energized about the possibilities here,” Polian said. “This is a great situation. The support and the energy and the positive feelings we are getting is very exciting. We have good facilities here ... between the stadium, the football facility and an unbelieveable academic center, we have great facilities here that we can recruit to.”
Polian said his first task will be to assemble his coaching staff and begin recruiting players in the three weeks remaining until signing day. During his preparation for the Cotton Bowl, while coaching at Texas A&M earlier this year, Polian said he remembers the few hours leading up to game time very well.
“I was in College Station, Texas packing up some odds and ends to go spend about seven or eight days in a hotel in preparation for the Cotton Bowl,” he said. “And I saw the scroll across the screen that coach Ault had retired, and I thought to myself somebody’s going to get a really good job.
“Actually on game day Carey (Groth, Athletic Director), President (Marc) Johnson and myself had talked on the phone and agreed we were going to begin negotiations and, I will be very honest with you, in my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine the dream of a head coaching opportunity occurring four hours before you kick off in a game. You kind of have to take a step back and shed some tears.”
Polian, with his wife and two children present, shed plenty of tears in the realization of the dramatic ride he has taken to become Nevada’s head coach. Polian’s assistant coaching positions under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M have given him ties across the country. He said that element will lead to a strong recruiting class in the offseason.
“One of the things I really liked about Nevada was the recruiting process where we are going with the home state first and try to get the best players in the state,” he said. “And then to be so close to California, which I have strong recruiting ties to from the Notre Dame and Stanford days, and frankly I am hoping to open up Texas.”
Polian said his upcoming recruiting class will likely have “some national flavor” based on the coaches he brings in and where their recruiting expertise lies around the country. He said the coaching staff will have to be reliant on itself rather than the number of “stars” a recruiting agency has given a player.
“We have to trust our own eye and our experience,” he said. “I do believe that you can out-work people in recruiting and I think we can do that with our coaching staff.”