RENO, Nev. – (Special thanks to Chad Hartley and Nevada Media Services) Nevada football coach Chris Ault, the mastermind of the high-powered Pistol offense, announced today the hiring of offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, the play-calling architect of one of the top passing schemes in the country over the past couple seasons while at Hawai`i.
Rolovich comes to Nevada after a wildly productive four-year run at Hawai`i, where he directed one of the top passing offenses in the nation. He was the quarterbacks coach all four seasons and spent the last two years as the Warriors’ offensive coordinator.
“I am pleased to have Nick join our staff. I’ve had the chance to watch him grow as a player, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator,” Ault said. “He is a young gun who coached and coordinated the best passing offense in the country. It was clear to me and my defensive staff this past year he is not afraid of change as he introduced the Pistol formation to the Hawaii offense. And they didn’t miss a beat.”
Rolovich will serve as Nevada’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. With the Pack, he inherits the WAC Freshman of the Year in Cody Fajardo along with fellow sophomore Devin Combs and redshirt freshman Tanner Roderick as Nevada enters the Mountain West this fall. The Wolf Pack also has a pair of highly touted three-star prep quarterbacks en route in 2012 signees Hassan Henderson (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Tyler Stewart (Simi Valley, Calif.).
“I am very excited to be part of a program that I am very familiar with and for which I have a lot of respect,” Rolovich said. “It feels great to be at a school with a history of high offensive production and putting points on the scoreboard. I’m here to learn, teach and win. This is a great opportunity for me to learn from a guy with so much knowledge like Coach Ault and then to hopefully combine that with some things I’ve done in the past and continue to win here.”
For the three years Rolovich had play-calling duties at Hawai`i (2009-2011), the Warriors threw for 13,915 yards – an average of 347.9 yards per game – and 96 touchdowns. That includes the 2010 season in which Hawai’i averaged 394.29 yards per game and led the nation in passing offense while finishing sixth in the nation in total offense. That year, Rolovich guided quarterback Bryant Moniz to the top of the total offense chart and to an eighth-place standing in passing efficiency.
Rolovich joins a Nevada team that has featured a record-breaking rushing attack since Ault’s creation of the Pistol offense in 2005. In 2009, Nevada led the nation in rushing and became the first school in NCAA history to have three players – Colin Kaepernick, Luke Lippincott and Vai Taua – each rush for more than 1,000 yards. Since 2008, Nevada has finished fifth, second, fourth and sixth nationally in total offense and third, first, third and eighth in rushing offense.
“With the production of our offense, there was a lot of interest in this job from around the country,” Ault said. “Although I interviewed other candidates, Nick is the only one I offered this opportunity to. He has a good idea of our football tradition and I am confident his background and experience will add another element to our offense.”
Rolovich, a two-year letterwinner for Hawai`i from 2000-01, was the quarterbacks coach at City College of San Francisco, where he helped guide the Rams to a J.C. Gridwire National Championship in 2007. He also coached all-conference quarterbacks Zak Lee and Jeremiah Masoli, who went on to earn Division I scholarships at Nebraska and Oregon, respectively. As a player, Rolovich attended CCSF prior to Hawai`i and was a two-time All-American. He directed the school to a national championship in 1999.
As a player, Rolovich started the bulk of the 2001 season at Hawai`i, leading the team to an 8-1 record as a starter. During those nine games, he threw for 3,361 yards and 34 touchdowns. In the season-finale against fourth-ranked Brigham Young, Rolovich threw for a then-school record 543 yards and current record eight touchdowns against the Cougars. Rolovich ranked 10th nationally in passing efficiency with a 150.5 rating and broke 19 school passing and eight total offense records. He participated in the 2002 Hula Bowl and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Following his UH career, Rolovich participated in the Dallas Cowboys mini-camp before signing with the Denver Broncos. He was released after the team’s final preseason game in 2002. The next year, he was allocated to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, where he threw for 907 yards and led the Fire to World Bowl XI.
Rolovich returned to Denver in 2003 and was cut following training camp. From there he began a five-year career in the Arena Football League, beginning with the San Jose SaberCats. Serving as veteran Mark Grieb’s backup, Rolovich was a member of the Arena Bowl championship team. He then spent time with the Chicago Rush, Arizona Rattlers and Las Vegas Gladiators. While with the Gladiators, he threw for 1,248 yards and 23 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 104.8 in 2007, before retiring and accepting a spot on the Hawai`i coaching staff.
The Novato, Calif., native served as an assistant coach for San Marin High School in 2002 and was a student assistant at UH from 2003-04. He has a bachelor of arts degree in economics from UH and a master’s in human performance and sport from New Mexico Highlands.