Fresno State was going to be a favorite to win the Mountain West Conference next season, coming off a 9-4 season that ended with a disappointing loss to Southern Methodist in the Hawaii Bowl.
Boise State and San Diego State are headed to the Big East, which no doubt makes things easier for the Bulldogs. The teams joining the conference will have first-year coaches after Mike MacIntyre left San Jose State for Colorado and Gary Anderson left Utah State for Wisconsin. And the ‘Dogs probably became an even heavier favorite on Friday when Coach Chris Ault announced that he would be stepping down at Nevada.
Of the seven bowl teams that were in the Mountain West or will be joining the conference next season, five will either not be in the conference or have first-year coaches. Only Fresno State with Tim DeRuyter and the Air Force with Troy Calhoun are returning at this point.
”I don’t write speeches, but I did put down some notes,” Ault said, in a press conference. ”Let me start off by saying I believe that Wolf Pack football has established a blueprint for success, a winning program, one that can be maintained. I’m proud of that. We are no longer just a spot on the regional map. We have a national reputation and a national following and that’s pretty doggone special.
”With that being said and given the parameters that our program has worked under the past few years, I’ve determined that Wolf Pack football has gone about as far as it can go under these circumstances. As we all know, change is inevitable. With great humility and mixed emotions, I’ve decided it’s time for me to step down and move on.
”It’s been a privilege to have been a part of this university as a student-athlete, as a coach and as an administrator for 42 years. My whole adult life and all that I value, in one way or another, has evolved around this university. It’s been a really privileged to have been a part of something this special. For Kathy, my family and me, it’s been an incredible journey, one that I think will stand the test of time. We will cherish all the memories that I had here.”