RENO, Nev. — The University of Nevada, Reno and Wolf Pack Athletics will honor the contributions that former football head coach Chris Ault has made to the athletics program by naming the field at Mackay Stadium after the College Hall of Fame inductee.
Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium will be unveiled at Nevada’s home opener vs. UC Davis on Sept. 7. The honor for Ault was announced at a news conference on Wednesday, May 22.
“This is a significant and deserved recognition,” University President Marc Johnson said. “Through his 41-year association with Wolf Pack Athletics and the University, Chris Ault left a tremendous legacy. His contributions to Wolf Pack Football, Nevada Athletics, our University and our region are immeasurable.”
“As football coach and athletic director, Coach Ault played a vital role in the advancement of the Wolf Pack athletics program. He helped bring national recognition to the University of Nevada, Reno and to our region. In his ambassador role on the national stage, Coach Ault always conveyed impressive leadership, integrity and passion for the program, the University and student athletes.
“Coach Ault’s innovative advancements to the game of football are legendary, and his accomplishments are underscored by his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.”
The winningest coach in school history with a career record of 233-109-1 in 28 seasons, Ault guided Nevada from Division II to I-AA glory in the Big Sky Conference 1980s and early 90s, into I-A and the Big West Conference in 1992 and on to the Western Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference. He won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to postseason play 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons. He leaves a lasting legacy of accolades and contributions to the game, perhaps none of which greater than his creation of the Pistol offense in 2005, a scheme now employed by hundreds of teams at every level of football.
“Chris Ault has left an indelible footprint on the University of Nevada, Wolf Pack Athletics and college football, and it is only fitting that his name will grace the field on which he built that legacy of success and tradition,” Nevada Director of Athletics Doug Knuth said. “We are pleased that we can honor Coach Ault for his Hall of Fame career and service to the University in this lasting way.”
Ault, who played quarterback at Nevada from 1965-67 and earned two degrees from the University. He was hired by his alma mater in 1976 at the age of 29, the youngest college coach in the country at the time. He would later be inducted into four different Halls of Fame, including the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 at the age of 55. In his final year at the helm, Ault passed Bear Bryant to set the mark for most wins by a coach at his alma mater.
“I am deeply touched and very humbled,” said Ault, who announced his decision to step down as head football coach in December of 2012. “What a great shared message for the community, players and coaches who made it all possible.”
Details about the design and placement of the honor on the field as well as information about the celebration at Nevada’s home opener will be unveiled later this summer.