Nevada welcomes Polian as new head coach

By Chris Boline

Nevada welcomes Polian as new head coach

Following in the footsteps of the coach with the most wins in college football history might make some uneasy — but Brian Polian isn’t here to be Chris Ault.

“I understand I can’t replace the man and I won’t try to,” Polian said. “Nobody could replace Coach Ault. I’m going to build on the tradition he’s laid.”

The native of The Bronx, N.Y. was formally introduced as the new head coach of Wolf Pack football on Friday. The former Texas A&M special teams coordinator and tight ends coach is the 26th head man in the 117 year history of Nevada football.

With his wife and two children in attendance, Polian was introduced to the media by athletic director Cary Groth and was questioned on everything from the Reno weather to how Cody Fajardo compared to Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel. While Polian did mention the question was not particularly fair, he did note the main similarity between the two signal-callers.

“They are both winners,” Polian said. “My brother Chris was scouting for the (Atlanta) Falcons and he told me after watching Cody play, ‘You got a real quarterback’.”

Polian thanked numerous people who helped him along the way in his introductory speech. Among them, were coaches Tony Dungy, Dom Capers, Jim Caldwell and hall of famer Marv Levy. He especially thanked the coaches who he had worked with along the way in college: Charlie Weis, Jim Harbaugh and Kevin Sumlin at Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M, respectively.

Polian is a jack-of-all trades coach and has overseen positions from tight ends to defensive backs. The Wolf Pack is getting a coach with experience on both sides on the ball with an expertise in the kicking game.

“Brian is bright, hard-working, and a well-principled man, and I believe Nevada has hired the right man for the job.” Levy said in a press release.

The head coach is coming into a situation that is three weeks away from national signing day. With most of the secondary depleted to graduation and a hole at running back with Stefphon Jefferson leaving school early for the NFL draft, Polian and his staff have quite a task ahead of themselves.  According to, the Pack only has five commitments as of today.

However, the head coach did bring a reputation as one of the best young recruiters in the business. He was able to bring Heisman finalist Manti Te’o to Notre Dame when he was the head recruiter for the Irish.

“There’s no reason why we can’t recruit student-athletes to this place,” Polian said, “There are a lot of positives here and this isn’t a broken situation.”

The coach even admitted he had already started going after some of his former players at A&M.

One of the biggest questions the new head man has to address is the future of the pistol offense. The Chris Ault brainchild was on life support after offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich supposedly left to Temple. Rolovich is back, and Polian doesn’t see a problem with the offense.

“I’m not a dummy. The offense is pretty good so why change it?” Polian said.

The defensive side of the football has been the Achilles heel of the Wolf Pack football team for quite some time and the new coach didn’t mention what kind of scheme he would use but rather his philosophy.

“It’s not scheme-based but effort-based,” Polian said. “Good defense is multiple (schemes) and we need to have the courage to try new things that not a lot of people agree with.”

The new coach is being thrown into the proverbial fire with next year’s non-conference schedules which includes games at UCLA, Florida State and a home date with the Oregon Ducks. However, he’s not intimidated by the challenge.

“Whoever you put on the schedule we’ll go out and compete with them,” Polian said.

The new era of Wolf Pack football has begun, and Nevada has a man who wants to make the program a national brand.

“We will continue to build a program that this university, city and state can be proud of,” Polian said.  “Not just in Nevada, but all over the west coast people can wear their silver and blue with pride.”

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