A new era of Nevada football was ushered in on Jan. 11, 2013 with the hiring of Brian Polian to serve as the 25th head coach in the history of the Wolf Pack program.
Polian, 38, is one of the youngest head coaches at the FBS level and brings to Nevada an impressive football pedigree that includes coaching stops at Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M as part of a 16-year coaching career.
"Brian brings terrific energy and enthusiasm, an impressive and well-grounded coaching philosophy and a tremendous reputation as a recruiter and coach," University president Marc Johnson said. "These characteristics are even more impressive when you consider the outstanding programs with which he has been affiliated. I am convinced Brian is the right coach to continue the momentum and lead Wolf Pack Football to new levels of success."
Polian came to Nevada after a year as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, which capped an 11-2 season in 2012 with a win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and an historic Heisman Trophy for then-freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel. Polian has coached on both sides of the ball and earned a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation in previous coaching roles at Stanford (2010-11), Notre Dame (2005-09), UCF (2004) and Buffalo (2001-03).
"I would like to thank President Johnson and the University of Nevada for the incredible opportunity that I have been presented with," Polian said during his introduction to the Northern Nevada community in January. "I cannot express how excited I am to lead the Nevada football program into what will be a very bright future. It is a dream come true for me to become a head coach, and there have been many mentors and friends that have helped along the way. I have no doubt that the lessons that I have learned from all of these great teachers, and from others I have encountered along the way, will serve me well as we begin this journey at Nevada."
Hired by Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Polian's two-year run with the Cardinal was marked by a pair of BCS bowl appearances and two of the top recruiting classes in school history. He served as the special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator while also coaching the safeties at Stanford. Prior to that, Polian spent five seasons with Charlie Weis at Notre Dame, earning a number of honors as one of the top recruiters in the country and was a nominee for the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Assistant Coach of the Year in 2008. During that time, Polian's special teams units set a number of school records and the Fighting Irish went to a pair of BCS bowl games - the Fiesta Bowl following the 2005 season and 2006 Sugar Bowl.
Polian spent one season at Central Florida as the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach and spearheaded recruiting classes that led to the Knights' bowl appearance in 2005. Prior that, he coordinated special teams and coached running backs at the University of Buffalo for three seasons after a previous tenure (1998) with the Bulls. While at Buffalo, Polian work under Jim Hofher, who is now the assistant head coach for the Wolf Pack.
Polian also worked as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at Michigan State (1997) and then spent two seasons at as a GA at Baylor (1999-2000).
As he enters his 17th year as a college coach in 2013, Polian has been part of seven bowl games in his career: 1996 Aloha Bowl (Michigan State); 2005 Fiesta Bowl (Notre Dame); 2006 Sugar Bowl (Notre Dame); 2008 Hawai`i Bowl (Notre Dame); 2010 Orange Bowl (Stanford); 2011 Fiesta Bowl (Stanford); and the 2012 Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M).
A native of The Bronx, New York, Polian graduated from at St. Francis High School outside of Buffalo. He went on to play linebacker at John Carroll University from 1993-96. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from John Carroll in 1997 and received his master's in education from Baylor in 2000.
He comes from a notable football family as his father, Bill, was the general manager who built the Super Bowl teams of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s and later, as the team's president, oversaw the Indianapolis Colts's two Super Bowl appearances and their championship in 2006. Polian's two brothers, Chris and Dennis, both work in the NFL.
Polian and his wife, Laura, have a son, Aidan (4), and a daughter, Charlotte (born in July, 2012).
"My family and I are looking forward to establishing roots in area," Polian said. "Laura and I, and our family, consider ourselves blessed to be able to call the University of Nevada and Reno our new home."
The File on Brian Polian Born: Dec. 22, 1974. Hometown: Buffalo, N.Y. Family: Wife - Laura; Son - Aiden; Daughter, Charlotte. Education Bachelor's, History, John Carroll University, 1997. Master's, Education, Baylor University, 2000. Playing Experience John Carroll University: Linebacker (1993-96). Coaching Experience 1997 Michigan State Graduate Assistant (Offense) 1998 Buffalo Tight Ends/Assistant Offensive Line 1999-2000 Baylor Graduate Assistant (Defense, Special Teams) 2001-03 Buffalo Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator 2004 Central Florida Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator 2005 Notre Dame Head Special Teams Coach/Defensive Backs Assistant 2006 Notre Dame Head Special Teams Coach/Linebackers Assistant 2007 Notre Dame Inside Linebackers/Special Teams 2008-09 Notre Dame Special Teams Coordinator 2010 Stanford Special Teams Coordinator/Safeties 2011 Stanford Special Teams Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties 2012 Texas A&M Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends