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Frank Solich (born September 8, 1944, in Johnstown, Pennsylvaniamarker) is a college football coach, currently the head coach of the Ohio Bobcats. He was previously the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where he played fullback under head coach Bob Devaney in the mid-1960s.



Solich grew up in Clevelandmarker, Ohiomarker, and graduated from Holy Name High Schoolmarker in 1962, where he earned all-state, All-America and all-scholastic honors. He was a part of Bob Devaney’s first recruiting class at Nebraska, and became a standout for the Huskers in the mid-1960s, where he earned the nickname "Fearless Frankie". An All-Big Eight fullback and co-captain of the Huskers’ 1965 team, his playing career earned him induction into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1992. In NU's 27–17 win over Air Force in 1965, he ran for 204 yards on 17 carries, becoming the first Husker to run for 200 yards in a game, and subsequently the first Husker to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Solich is married to the former Pamela Wieck, of Beatricemarker, Nebraskamarker, and they have two children, Cindy and Jeff. Cindy and her husband, Jon Dalton, have a daughter, Catherine, and two sons, Aaron and Jacob. Jeff and his wife Chara have a son, Cade.

High school coaching

He began his career in the Nebraskamarker prep ranks, as head coach at Holy Name High School in Omahamarker in 1966 and 1967. His 1967 team was state runner-up. Solich then moved to Lincoln Southeast for 11 years, where he compiled a record of 66-33-5 while capturing consecutive Class A state titles in 1976 and 1977.

Nebraska roots

Solich returned to college football at his alma mater in 1979, spending 19 seasons at Nebraska as an assistant coach under Tom Osborne - four as the freshman team coach, and 15 seasons as running backs coach. In Solich’s 19 years as an assistant, the Huskers captured three national championships, and 11 conference titles. He was the position coach for Calvin Jones, Ahman Green, and Lawrence Phillips.

Osborne retired after the 1997 national championship season, and named Solich as his successor. Solich directed the Huskers to six consecutive bowl games, including his 2001 squad which went to the national championship game in the Rose Bowl following the 2001 season. Nebraska won at least nine games in five of those six seasons, and finished among the top 10 teams in the nation three times. Solich compiled a 58–19 record (.753) at Nebraska.

Solich's 1999 Huskers defeated the Texas Longhorns for the Big 12 championship. Solich was named the Big 12 Coach-of-the-Year in 1999 and 2001, and was one of seven finalists for the Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach-of-the-Year Award in 2001.

For the first five years as head coach, Solich served as his own offensive coordinator, as Osborne had for most of his tenure. His offenses centered on the option. He also utilized such plays as the Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass which became a highlight of Eric Crouch's Heisman-winning season in 2001.

After a 7–7 season in 2002, the Huskers' worst record since 1961, Solich shook up his staff. He gave up offensive play-calling duties to newly hired offensive coordinator Barney Cotton and brought in Bo Pelini, the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers, as defensive coordinator. 2003 began with Nebraska starting out 5-0, but suffered three key losses later in the year: 41–24 to Missouri, 31–7 to Texas and 38–9 to Kansas State. After winning the final game of the regular season, Solich was fired by new athletic director Steve Pederson, stating that he would not "let Nebraska gravitate into mediocrity" and would not "surrender the Big 12 to Oklahoma and Texas."

Solich's 58 wins during his first six seasons as Nebraska's head coach exceeded those of his predecessors, Bob Devaney (53 wins) and Osborne (55 wins), both of whom are in the College Football Hall of Famemarker. Critics pointed to Solich's having won only a single Big 12 North title and conference championship in six seasons (none in his final four seasons at Nebraska), a 1-9 record on the road against ranked teams (0-9 in conference play), and alleged drop-offs in talent and offensive production. Pederson was ultimately fired four years later, largely as a result of the direction the football program took following the hire of Bill Callahan as Solich's replacement. Six weeks after the firing of Pederson, Callahan was also dismissed.

Solich's time at Ohio University

After taking the 2004 season off, Solich was hired at Ohio Universitymarker in Athensmarker, and his impact on the football program was immediate. Plans were quickly put in place to renovate the football facilities and increase financial support for the football program. Also, Ohio was selected to appear on national television 6 times for the 2005 football season, a record for the program. Frank Solich's first home game as coach of the Bobcats was a memorable one, as Peden Stadiummarker brought in its largest crowd ever. On September 9, 2005, 24,545 fans were in attendance to watch the Bobcats defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers 16–10. The Pitt-Ohio game also ranks among the most viewed regular season college football games ever on ESPN2.

The Bobcats' 2005 record under Solich (4-7) was the same as the team's record in the previous year under Brian Knorr. However, in 2006 Solich led the Bobcats to a 9–5 record including a MAC East Division Title and a GMAC Bowl invitation. The bowl game (which Ohio lost to Southern Miss, 28–7) was the program's first bowl appearance since 1968.

In the 2007 season the Bobcats took a step backward and finished with a record of 6–6. Two of those losses were by less than three points, and a third was a 28–7 loss to nationally ranked Virginia Tech. The Bobcats were one of 6 bowl eligible teams that missed the post-season.

On July 18, 2008, Solich was given an extension of his contract through the 2013 season.

Head coaching record

* DC Bo Pelini coached bowl game after Solich was fired.
‡ Big 12 North Division

◊ Mid American East Division

External links


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