RENO, Nev. – Former football coach Chris Ault will be honored with the University of Nevada’s Jake Lawlor Award at the 45th annual Governor’s Dinner on July 12, the athletics department announced Wednesday.
The Jake Lawlor Award, named after the former Wolf Pack coach and athletics director, is bestowed annually to an individual who has demonstrated substantial and exemplary support of Nevada's intercollegiate athletics program over an extended period of time.
“Chris Ault’s commitment to Nevada athletics spans six decades as a student-athlete, coach and athletics director and his contributions to this program are immeasurable,” athletics director Doug Knuth said. “The bulk of his adult life has been dedicated to improving and advancing our athletics department, and the lives thousands of student-athletes throughout the program have been changed because of his commitment to the Wolf Pack. This is a fitting and deserved honor.”
Ault’s devotion to the Wolf Pack began in the 1960s when Ault the quarterback arrived on campus to compete for the Dick Trachok-coached football team. In 1976, at age 29, Ault was named head coach of the Wolf Pack program and thus began a 36-year professional career at Nevada to saw the athletics program rise from Division II independence to the Division I-AA and the Big Sky Conference and on to the current NCAA FBS and Big West, Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences.
Along the way, Ault led Nevada to a record of 233-109-1 in 28 years as head coach, winning 10 conference titles and taking the Pack to postseason play 16 times. In 12 years as an FBS head coach, Ault led Nevada to 10 bowl games. 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.
In 18 years as athletics director, Ault saw unparalleled success as an administrator and a glance around at the impressive athletics facilities and office complex demonstrate his foresight and fundraising ability. Two of his final endeavors as athletics director left a lasting imprint on Wolf Pack sports. He was the driving force behind the funding of tuition and fee waivers for both state universities to help meet the rising cost of education and spearheaded the fundraising efforts for the construction of what is now called the E.L. Cord Athletics and Academics Performance Complex, which consists of four primary anchors: The Primm Strength and Conditioning Center; the Cashell Football Center, the Hart Health and Sports Medicine Center and the Petersen Athletic Academic Center.
Ault will receive the award as part of the 45th annual Governor’s Dinner, set for July 12 at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City. Proceeds from the Governor's Dinner benefit student-athlete scholarships at the University of Nevada. The event will start with hosted cocktails at 5:30 p.m., and the family-style, sit-down dinner provided by the Eldorado Hotel Casino begins at 7 p.m., followed by the program. Tickets are $300 per person, while tables start at $2,200. A VIP table is available for $3,500, which includes the VIP reception with Craig prior to the dinner.
To reserve your tickets for the 45th annual Governor's Dinner or for more information, call Heather Dixon at (775) 682-6965.