With the unexpected resignation of head coach, and Godfather of the Pistol Offense, Chris Ault last week, the University of Nevada Wolf Pack – and its’ fans – have been pondering over prospective replacements.
There was a strong campaign by Nevada fans to bring back former offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis (who left to coach the offensive line for the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2010), but with the program’s limited funds, the possibility of bringing in an outsider – much less, a Pac-12 and SEC trained coach – seemed extremely ambitious.
Klenakis actually seemed like the most viable candidate, as he’s currently in his 22nd season of Division 1 football, and last week, he mentioned that he was the “right guy for the Wolf Pack job”.
While it was announced that there were five coaches interviewed, the ones we were able to identify were Klenakis, Tom Mason, and Brian Polian.
Saturday night during the NFL Wild Card Weekend game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers, CBS’ Bruce Feldman called a focus audible when he tweeted:
While the announcement of Texas A&M Aggies’ Special Teams Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Brian Polian seemed shocking considering his credentials, it was reported last week that he was a contender, and had been interviewed by Nevada Athletic Director Cary Groth, and President Dr. Marc Johnson. Again, the news wasn’t taken seriously as he has no ties to the program, but mainly due to budget restrictions.
As many know, the Aggies were anticipated to be a mid-grade, or bottom-feeder in their inaugural season in the SEC, but finished an amazing and impressive season yesterday in the Cotton Bowl against Bob Stoops, Landry Jones, and the Oklahoma Sooners with a No.9 ranking, 11-2 overall, and 6-2 in the SEC.
The Aggies – with freshmen record-setting, Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel – averaged 316.5 yards passing, 242.1 yards rushing, allowing an average of 21.6 points per game this season.
Polian has held the same position throughout the majority of his career, but his biggest accomplishment at Notre Dame (2005-2008) was the successful recruitment of 2012 Heisman runner-up, and National Championship-bound LB Manti Te’o.
Throughout Te’o’s recruiting period in 2007-2008, it was reported that Polian made 11 trips in 15 months to Hawaii to lock him in for Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish Special Teams Coordinator.
Polian was with the Stanford Cardinal from 2010-2012, and helped assemble the Tight End U set up for Andrew Luck, with Colby Fleener, Zach Ertz, to name a few.
In 2011, he was named one of the top recruiters in the nation by Max Preps, and was at the top of the Pac-12 in recruiting by ESPN.com.
Polian – 38 – is the son of former Indianapolis Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian, who is currently an NFL analyst for ESPN. Bill was fired following the 2011-2012, 2-14 season, which set them up to draft Luck.
Several Wolf Pack fans have expressed concern whether Polian is ready to be a head coach, but his resume, team affiliations, and clutch recruiting capabilities should reaffirm that with the talent on the Nevada roster, Polian has the qualities necessary to restore the culture, and return Nevada to its’ 2010 glory and full potential.
With the correct personnel hires under him, and retention of the Pistol connoisseurs currently on staff, I see no reason for traditional concerns.
While the source of this news is a reliable one, the hire has to go before the Nevada Board of Regents. Several sources close to the program have said that the deal was done last night, and it was confirmed that Johnson added an “Employment Contract, Head Football Coach” issue to the agenda for the January 11 meeting, and the hire will likely be announced officially through Nevada Athletics at that time.
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