Nevada's Chris Ault among ESPN's top-150 coaches in college football history

Chris Ault
Chris Ault is the winningest coach in Nevada football history. (Byrne Photo/Nevada athletics)

ESPN named Tuesday its 150 greatest coaches in college football's 150-year history, and a local name made the cut.

Chris Ault, who had three tenures coaching the Wolf Pack, placed 99th. Ault, who was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002, went 233-109-1 in 28 seasons at the helm of the Wolf Pack. Ault led Nevada from the Division II to Division I-AA and eventually the FBS. Along the way, he won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to postseason play 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 FBS seasons.

ESPN wrote of Ault:

99. Chris Ault, 233-109-1: Nevada (1976-92, 1994-95; 2004-12)

Ault led the Wolf Pack to seven Division I-AA playoff appearances, including five semifinal berths and one championship game berth. Just as important, he led Nevada's move to Division I-A (FBS) in 1992, where the Wolf Pack won five conference titles and reached 10 bowl games. Ault also created the Pistol offense (in which the quarterback stands 5 yards behind center; in the Shotgun, he is 7 yards back) that is a staple of modern college football.

Ault's impact on college football extended far past his win-loss record. He helped create college football's overtime system (and his team played the first overtime game at the FBS level) and his innovative offensive mind influenced football from the Pop Warner level to the NFL. Ault created the popular wide receiver screen and his Pistol formation became the rave of football for several years. It's still being used in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and MVP favorite Lamar Jackson being the most active in the formation.

In all, 11 coaches who spent time at current Mountain West schools were on ESPN's top-150 list. Here are those coaches and the years in which they coached at their respective MW schools.

18. Fielding Yost, San Jose State (1900)

26. Bob Devaney, Wyoming (1957-61)

33. John Robinson, UNLV (1999-2004)

58. Chris Petersen, Boise State (2006-13)

63. Don Coryell, San Diego State (1961-72)

83. Dennis Erickson, Wyoming (1986)

99. Chris Ault, Nevada (1976-92, 1994-95; 2004-12)

107. Earle Bruce, Colorado State (1989-92)

112. Fisher DeBerry, Air Force (1984-2006)

119. Pat Dye, Wyoming (1980)

128. Clark Shaughnessy, Hawaii (1965)

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