Nevada dismissed Brian Polian on Sunday following a 5-7 season. The Wolf Pack will now search for a new head coach four seasons after hiring Polian.
Brian Polian will no longer be Nevada’s head football coach following a 5-7 campaign.
According to a release from the school on Sunday, the coach and school have mutually agreed to part ways.
Polian, who coached under the likes of Jim Harbaugh, Kevin Sumlin and Charlie Weis, spent four years in Reno, compiling a 23-27 mark with two bowl appearances. The team finished off its 2016 season with a 45-10 win over UNLV, but it was not enough to keep Polian around. The Pack will be home for the holidays after finishing tied for third in the Mountain West’s West division in 2016.
Replacing Chris Ault proved to be difficult for Polian, as the legendary former Wolf Pack head coach made a bowl game in every season from 2005-12.
Which replacements might athletic director Doug Knuth be looking at as he composes his coaching wish list?
Let’s take a look at five names that ultimately could emerge as potential candidates.
Nevada Coaching Candidate Wish List
Beau Baldwin, Eastern Washington Head Coach
Though he runs a program at the FCS level, Baldwin has won a national championship (2010) and is 10-1 this fall. During his time with the Eagles, he has compiled an 83-31 mark while overseeing some prolific offenses. Over nine seasons, he has five Big Sky titles and six FCS playoff appearances. He’s familiar with the West Coast recruiting terrain, and he’d be able to bring in a bit of a higher-caliber athlete than he’s able to at EWU. The pass-happy offense would make the Wolf Pack fun to watch.
Andy Buh, Maryland Defensive Coordinator
The former Wolf Pack student-athlete and defensive coordinator was at one time considered an heir apparent to Ault. He left Nevada for a gig as linebackers coach at Wisconsin and has also been the defensive coordinator at Stanford and Cal. In his first season as DC/linebackers coach at Nevada in 2010, Buh was part of the school’s 13-1 season, tying for the WAC championship and defeating Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. He’s a guy that players love to be around and could get a look.
Chris Klenakis, Louisville Offensive Coordinator
Klenakis was in the mix for the Nevada job back in 2013 and certainly should get another look now. He was born in Reno and was a two-time Nevada High School Coach of the Year, and he was a Wolf Pack assistant for a long time. In fact, he helped invent the Pistol offense alongside Ault. That unit was very productive, especially from 2007-09 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was running the show. If Knuth wants an Ault descendant, then Klenakis is the guy. Oh, there’s also the fact that he is helping oversee the rise of Lamar Jackson at Louisville.
Chip Lindsey, Arizona State Offensive Coordinator
Lindsey is a rising assistant coach and has started to get more attention on the national radar. He has had opportunities to lead Eastern Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe and Southern Miss, but he turned them all down. Could Nevada be the right fit? He is known as someone who develops quarterbacks, and his spread offense will play well in the Mountain West. He has never been a collegiate head coach and will have to shift his recruiting Westward, but he deserves a shot to run his own program. He’s been very selective, but maybe the Wolf Pack is the choice.
Andy Ludwig, Vanderbilt Offensive Coordinator
Knuth is familiar with Ludwig from their time at Utah, as Ludwig was the Utes’ offensive coordinator from 2005-08. He helped lead Utah’s offense to the No. 2 national ranking in 2008 before moving onto stints as OC at Cal, San Diego State, Wisconsin and Vanderbilt. He is familiar with the West Coast and the conference, and he obviously is familiar with Knuth. Will he finally get a crack at a head gig?