Nevada Sagebrush file photo. Headlining the Nevada sports moments of the decade, is the retirement of Chris Ault. Joining Ault on the list of notable moments was the disbanding of Nevada rifle, the addition of men’s cross country and the departure of Eric Musselman.

Chris Ault retires

Just weeks after a devastating 49-48 loss to Arizona in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 28, 2012, the then-66-year-old head coach called it quits. He spent 41 years with the program, beginning as a 29-year-old head coach in 1976. At that time, he was the youngest head coach in the nation. 

Throughout his three stints with his alma mater, Ault finished with a 233-109-1 record as the all-time winningest coach in school history. The 28-year head coach journeyed with Nevada through a Division II Independent, to a Division I-AA Independent and finally to four different conferences in Division I-A.

Ault left a mark on this program that will likely never be replicated. He won 10 conference championships and advanced the Wolf Pack to 16 postseason bids, including 10 bowl bids in 12 FBS seasons. 

The now-73-year-old innovated one of the most widely-used offenses of the modern era: the Pistol offense. The offense was invented in 2005 and is now used across all levels of football. Ault was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame at the age of 55 in 2002, one of the youngest coaches to ever be elected. 

His offense engineered three 1,000 yard-plus rushers in 2009, the first time an NCAA History that the feat had ever been reached. Nevada led the nation in rushing yards that season and averaged 345.5 yards per contest.

Under Ault, Colin Kaepernick became the first quarterback in NCAA History to surpass 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. He also was the only quarterback to achieve 9,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a collegiate career, a record that still stands today. 

The pistol might be his biggest innovation, but not the only one. Ault was also credited with the creation of the jailbreak screen in 1981, a play that involves the receiver coming back to the quarterback and the snap with offensive linemen blocking downfield. 

-Matt Hanifan

Nevada rifle disbanded

In Dec. of 2018, Nevada Athletics announced the Nevada rifle team would be disbanded following the conclusion of the program’s season. The news came to the shock of the team, who had only been given a short warning prior to the general announcement. 

Nevada rifle was one of the most successful sports at Nevada throughout its history, winning a national championship in 1956 and producing an individual championship winner in 2002, Ryan Tanoue. 

In their final season of competition, the team made it all the way to the national championships but fell just short of capturing a title. 

-Ryan Freeberg

Men’s cross country added

In the same announcement that the rifle team would be disbanded following the 2018-19 season, a men’s cross country was announced in its place.

The move brought Nevada closer into alignment with its Mountain West rivals. The move also meant that Nevada would become the only Division-I university in the state to offer a men’s cross country team. 

In the team’s first season of competition, they finished the year ranked eighth in the Mountain West Conference. 

-Ryan Freeberg

Musselman leaves—April 7, 2019

Eric Musselman and the Muss Bus officially left Reno for Arkansas on earlier this year on April 7. The former Nevada men’s basketball head coach signed a five-year contract with Arkansas which included an annual salary of $2.5 million per season. 

In four seasons with Nevada, Musselman coached the Pack to three NCAA Tournament appearances. The Wolf Pack reached the Sweet 16 in 2018 and won the Mountain West Conference’s regular season crown in each of the last three years. 

Musselman helped Nevada vault into national recognition throughout his four years, but his departure from the university generated some controversy within the Biggest Little City. 

-Isaiah Burrows