Chris Ault: My staff got their resumes, they thought it wouldn't work
Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 23, 2013
Chris Ault is a popular man these days.
The former Nevada coach is making the media rounds as a result of former Nevada and current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reaching the Super Bowl playing in some of the pistol formation Ault invented.
While on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, reflected on coming up with the pistol offense in 2005, and the reaction to it.
"The tough thing about it, there was no film," he said. "When I talked to some buddies in the business and said this is what I'm thinking of doing, I think they really thought I (was going to be put in a mental institution). When I brought it to my staff in the spring of 2005, about a month before we started spring ball, nobody knew anything about this thing. I had been working on it privately trying to figure out, visually, what it looked like.
"I said, 'Here's what I want to do. Here's what I want to do all spring. I want to try to reinvent something to give us our own identity.' I'm pretty sure when that meeting was over, they all went and got their resumes ready because they thought they weren't going to be working here next year. It was that far out."
Ault knew you had to run the ball to win. He liked the shotgun, but that only allowed the running back to run east-west. So he came up with the pistol, which got the ball to the running back quicker, but also allowed him to make his cuts. It didn't start off well.
"To be honest, we first put it in in the spring of 2005, it was ugly," Ault said. "The ball's all over the place. The kids are thinking, 'Oh my God, hang on.' But we never took a step backward. I never said we're going back, because I felt we had to make a statement for our university to try to get its own identity. If it didn't work, I'd step aside and say get back to the other stuff."
As for Ault's future, he emphasized that he isn't retired. But asked why he never jumped to a bigger school or the NFL, he said he loved bringing his alma mater from Division II to the high level it's at now.
"Two things, first of all, I haven't used that word, 'retire.' I've just stepped down," Ault said. "Who knows what's going to happen? Nevada was my school. Every time something came up, we were going to build more to the stadium, which we did. It was a lot of fun building the program from Division II to 1A. I always thought this is exciting. You're a graduate building this thing with a chance to be somewhat successful. You keep it going, you'll be one of the few guys that does that.
"There's time where you look at things and think if you should have done something, but no regrets on that. It was fun taking this university to where we are and creating the pistol and seeing that go to the NFL is really a special thrill."
You can listen to Ault's interview by clicking here.
Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org