Wilson previously spent 19 seasons coaching at Nevada, including five seasons as assistant head coach and four as defensive coordinator. He spent the past nine seasons working at Washington State and Oregon.
"I couldn't be happier about becoming the 27th head coach in Nevada football history," Wilson said in a statement. "It's a dream come true and a job that I have always hoped and worked toward becoming a reality like this is fantastic."
ESPN reported Thursday that Wilson interviewed with Nevada officials and had strong support from former Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault. Wilson is replacing Jay Norvell, who left for Colorado State on Monday.
Wilson helped guide the Ducks to consecutive Pac-12 championships in 2019 and 2020 and has been a part of 11 league titles during his coaching career. He has been with 19 teams that reached a bowl game, including 16 of the past 17 seasons.
He worked for three head coaches at Nevada: Ault, Jeff Tisdel and Jeff Horton. In 1996, Wilson was the youngest defensive coordinator in Division I and the Wolf Pack led the Big West in nearly every defensive statistical category. Nevada finished 9-3 and defeated Ball State 18-15 in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Wilson's son, Tyler, was a long-snapper for Nevada from 2012 to 2014.