As a young man, former Nevada football coach Chris Ault started close to the bottom of the coaching ranks, taking over a struggling Division II independent with little fan support and an uncertain future.
Now, many years later, he’s reached of college football’s highest peaks.
Ault was appointed to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, the CFP and executive director Bill Hancock announced Wednesday. He now joins the select group of college administrators and others who determine which teams advance to the annual playoff, which crowns the sport’s champion.
Ault is one of three new appointees to the committee, joined by Washington AD Jennifer Cohen and Miami (Ohio) AD David Sayler. The new members will begin three-year terms in the spring.
Ault, a member of four different Hall of Fames, was at Nevada from 1976-2012 as head football coach and athletic director, serving as AD from 1986-2004, and spending three separate stints as head football coach (1976-92, 1994-95, 2004-12). He guided the football program in its transitions from Division II to Division I-AA (now FCS) in 1978, then to Division I (now FBS) in 1992.
Over 28 seasons with the Wolf Pack, Ault went 234-108-1, won 10 conference titles in three conferences (Big Sky, Big West, WAC), reached the 1990 Division I-AA championship game, and earned six conference coach of the year honors.
He was also named the 1978 NCAA Division I-AA Coach of the Year, and the 1991 Eddie Robinson coach of the year.
In his final stint as the Wolf Pack head coach, Ault created the “Pistol” offense ahead of the 2005 season, beginning a stretch of eight straight seasons with a bowl appearance (2005-12), along with two WAC titles (2005, 2010). In 2009, the Wolf Pack became the first school in the history of college football to have three players rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
Ault’s 2010 Wolf Pack team finished the season 13-1 and ranked No. 11 in the season's final AP poll.
The CFP selection committee is responsible for selecting the top four teams in the playoff and assigning them to semifinal games, as well as ranking the other top 25 teams. The committee meets in-person beginning late in the football season and produces a ranking of the top 25 teams each week leading up to its final selections.
The four-team CFP began in the 2014 season, following other attempts by the sport to determine an undisputed champion. Those efforts included the Bowl Championship Series (1998-2013), the Bowl Alliance (1995-97), and the Bowl Coalition (1992-94).
Former CFP selection committee members include Condoleezza Rice (former U.S. Secretary of State), Archie Manning (former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback, and father to the Manning brothers), Ronnie Lott (former USC and 49ers defensive back), and Tyrone Willingham (former Notre Dame, Stanford, and Washington coach).
AULT AT NEVADA
Record: 234-108-1 (in three stints)
Titles: 10 (in three conferences)
Notable: Ault was also a quarterback for the Wolf Pack (1965-68)
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