Chris Ault, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the father of the "pistol" formation, on Friday announced he is stepping down as Nevada coach.
He said nothing about retirement and he did not rule out a move to the NFL, he told the Reno Gazette-Journal. Of course, his most logical landing spot would be with the 49ers. Ault designed the offense that Colin Kaepernick perfected on his way to becoming the first NCAA Division I quarterback to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for 4,000 in a collegiate career.
The 49ers have implemented many of Ault's pistol principles into their offense after Kaepernick took over as the starter for Alex Smith.
In fact, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman learned the offense from Ault.
"About three years ago, (I) made the trek to Nevada and visited with him and his staff," Roman said recently. "That was very valuable time spent. He was very accommodating and it was very interesting as a coach to go really learn something totally new. And he's a very good football coach. . . So it was good."
Kaepernick went to Twitter Friday afternoon after learning his former coach's 28-year run at Nevada was over:
Just got word Coach Ault retired today..... I wouldn't be where I'm at today without him! I wish him nothing but the best!— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) December 28, 2012
But Ault, 66, said he is not retired. In fact, he appeared eager for a new challenge.
"I have a lot left in me," Ault said. "I'm in my offensive prime. I feel good about where I'm at. My energy level is still very high. Whether I coach again, I don't know."
There typically is some degree of turnover on even the most stable NFL coaching staffs. So it's possible the 49ers will look to add to their coaching staff. Coach Jim Harbaugh in the offseason hired Paul Wulff shortly after he was fired as head coach of Washington State. Wulff's title with the 49ers is "senior offensive assistant." Ault figures to have some options in the NFL with his read-option offense becoming a staple for some NFL teams.