Ninth Season at Ohio (59-44, 40-24 MAC) 15th Season Overall (117-63)
Solich's Career Highlights -Led Ohio to back-to-back bowl wins and its first ever bowl win in 2011, winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. -Directed Ohio to 55 wins since the start of the 2006 season. -Led Ohio to four straight bowl games. -Coached 57 All-MAC Players. -Have appeared on the ESPN Family of Networks 50 times since 2005. -2006 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year. -Served as the head coach of the Aina Team at the 2005 Hula Bowl. -1999 and 2001 Big 12 Coach of the Year.
Head Coach Frank Solich has continued a storybook turnaround during his tenure at Ohio University. Now in his ninth season (15th overall), the Bobcats have been bowl-eligible in six of his first eight years at the helm, have won 55 games since 2006 - the most among any team in the Mid-American Conference East Division - and have had student-athletes selected in the NFL Draft in five of the past six seasons.
In 2012, Solich directed Ohio to its best start to a season since the 1968 campaign as the Bobcats opened the year 7-0. The Bobcats' 7-0 start included a thrilling 24-14 victory over Penn State in front of a nationally-televised audience.
After opening the year 7-0, Ohio earned a spot in all three major college football polls for the first time in school history - Associated Press, USA Today and the Bowl Championship Series standings.
Following the 2012 campaign, Ohio placed six individuals on the 2012 Mid-American Conference All-Conference teams and earned a bid to the 2012 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl to punch its ticket to a fourth-consecutive bowl trip.
In the Independence Bowl, Ohio did not disappoint as it defeated Louisiana-Monroe 45-14 to pick up its second-straight bowl victory. The Bobcats also set or tied 11 bowl records in the win, including the mark for total yards as they finished with 556.
The 2012 season also saw the emergence of running back Beau Blankenship. In his first season as a starter, Blankenship set the single season rushing record of 1,604 yards under Solich's watch. He also rushed for 15 touchdowns as he averaged just over five yards per carry.
In his seven previous seasons as Ohio's head coach, Solich guided the Bobcats to an impressive 50-40 record. In 2011, Solich led the Bobcats to their first-ever bowl win as Ohio defeated Utah State 24-23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to finish the year 10-4.
Ohio's win over the Aggies gave the Bobcats their first 10-win season since 1968. The Bobcats' 10 wins were also the most among division I-A teams from the state of Ohio. The Bobcats four losses came by a combined total of just 19 points (4.75 points per game). Solich's 2011 Bobcat squad set 47 school records, won six of the team's last seven games and had a league-best 11 players on the MAC All-Conference teams. In addition, Solich picked up his 100th career victory following a convincing 30-3 victory over Gardner-Webb on Sept. 10.
Among the 11 players selected All-MAC, place kicker Matt Weller was named Special Teams Player of the Year, offensive lineman Joe Flading was named First Team and quarterback Tyler Tettleton became the first Ohio signal-caller to be named all-league since 1985. Under Solich's watchful eye, Tettleton re-wrote Ohio's single season record book as he set 12 records and became the first quarterback in school history to pass for 3,000 yards in one year, while in the process throwing a program-best 28 touchdowns.
The 2011 campaign also saw Ohio defeat arch-rival Miami for the sixth-consecutive season - the program's longest winning streak since it won six straight from 1937-1942. Since Solich took over in 2005, Ohio has only suffered one loss to Miami.
When it was all said and done, the 2011 senior class posted a combined record of 36-27 to complete the best five-year run in program history.
In 2010, the Bobcats went to the New Orleans Bowl, making the program's fifth bowl appearance and third in the past five seasons.
Following the season, seven student-athletes were named All-MAC and quarterback Boo Jackson finished his career as Ohio's career leader in completion percentage (.604), pass efficiency (136.3), total offense per play (6.18), passing yards per attempt (7.7) and touchdown passes (38). He also finished the season with 26 total touchdowns, 48 in his career, which is fourth all-time. He also accumulated 18 passing touchdowns in 2010 (fourth all-time on the single-season list).
The 2009 season was equally successful as the senior class compiled 28 victories during its four years on campus. In addition, Ohio boasted a school-record 12 All-MAC selections with four capturing All-America honors en route to a second MAC East title in the squad's last four years. Solich was named the conference coach of the year by Phil Steele.
Following back-to-back seasons of bowl eligibility, the Bobcats followed it up with an offensive outburst that rewrote many of Ohio's all-time team and individual records in Frank Solich's fourth year at the helm. In 2008, the Bobcats' aerial attack set three school single-season passing records, including passing yards, passing yards per game and touchdown passes all of which stood until the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Overall, Ohio also totaled 4,337 yards of total offense, which at the time was the third-highest total in school history. Following the year, six players garnered All-MAC recognition, while in the classroom, five picked up Academic All-MAC awards.
Perhaps the best individual honor under Solich came with safety Mike Mitchell being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the NFL Draft (47th overall), becoming the highest drafted Bobcat since 1948 and the highest under Solich.
With Solich as coach in 2007, Kalvin McRae became the first Ohio player in history to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Other players achieved success for the offense as well, with tight end Andrew Mooney setting the single-season Bobcat touchdown reception record and quarterback Brad Bower tying the career record for most yards per pass.
In 2006, Solich guided Ohio to its first MAC East Division championship, the program's first MAC title of any kind since 1968, earning the Bobcats a spot in the GMAC Bowl, which marked the Bobcats' first bowl game since that same 1968 season.
Following the year, Solich was rewarded with MAC Coach of the Year honors, marking the third time in eight seasons in which he had won his league's coach of the year award. Ohio's five-win improvement from 2005 (4-7) to 2006 (9-5) tied for the sixth-best turnaround in the nation.
In his first three seasons, Solich guided the Bobcats to 19 victories in his first three campaigns after the squad had won 11 games in the previous four seasons. Since his arrival, Solich has coached 57 All-MAC players.
His players have also gained national recognition. At the conclusion of the 2011 season, Joe Flading earned SI.com All-America honors. In 2009, LaVon Brazill and Noah Keller were named to various All-America teams, while Matt Weller and Gerald Moore were tabbed as Freshman All-Americans. In 2005, Dion Byrum became Ohio's first non-special teams All-American since 1968, and three rookies have been honored on The Sporting News Freshman All-America squads.
Ohio has also seen an increase of national television exposure since Solich's arrival in 2005 as the Bobcats have played on the ESPN Family of Networks 50 times. This past season, Ohio had 12 of its 13 games televised on the ESPN Family of Networks and for the first time in school history, the Bobcats had all of their home games televised. The program has also seen an increased level of exposure in the media as it was featured in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The New York Times and Boston Globe.
Since Solich arrived in Athens, Bobcat players have been named to watch lists for such prestigious honors as the Maxwell Award, the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Trophy, the Lott Trophy, the Davey O'Brien Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Manning Award, the Biletnikoff Award and the Nagurski Trophy. Byrum was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's top defensive back, in 2005.
Off the field, Solich is equally proud of his player's accomplishments in the classroom. In the past three seasons, the Bobcats have had 18 Academic All-MAC selections. He has also had two seasons where an Ohio player has been named a semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy, one of the most prestigious academic honors in college football. Academic success is nothing new for Solich's teams. While head coach at Nebraska, almost 90 percent of his student-athletes earned their degree. Seven times Huskers earned first-team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors and on four other occasions, second-team honors were bestowed.
Solich was named the Bobcats' head coach on Dec. 17, 2004. In short order he assembled a talented and tested coaching staff, coordinated recruiting efforts to assure a steady stream of outstanding student-athletes to the program, supervised a highly productive off-season weight program producing dozens of personal bests and concluded all-business spring drills introducing his players to tried and true offensive and defensive schemes.
Solich's arrival brought a renewed enthusiasm to the Bobcat football program. Ohio used that spark to begin a massive renovation of Peden Tower to better serve its student-athletes.
The momentum carried over into Solich's first season on the sidelines at Peden Stadium. Solich's first win at Ohio came against defending Big East champion Pittsburgh in his home debut. Dion Byrum's two interception returns for touchdown on national television in an overtime victory put the Bobcats on the national stage. The win was one of only two victories for MAC teams against BCS-conference opponents during that season.
Solich arrived in Athens after six seasons as the head coach at the University of Nebraska. Solich spent nearly 30 years as part of the Nebraska program as a player, assistant coach and head coach. A Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2001, Solich produced nine-win seasons in five of his six years as head coach of the Huskers. In 1999, 2000 and 2001, he generated 12, 10 and 11 win seasons, respectively. He also generated six-consecutive bowl appearances including a 2001 run at the national championship against Miami in the Rose Bowl.
Under Solich's leadership, Nebraska spent 54 consecutive weeks in the Associated Press Top 10. In his first five seasons as Husker head coach, Solich won 49 games, more than both his storied predecessors, Bob Devaney and Dr. Tom Osborne, in their first five years at Nebraska.
Moving on from Nebraska following a 2003 season in which his Huskers went 10-3, Solich was nevertheless determined to stay as close as possible to the college game until just the right opportunity came along. In a unique professional development opportunity all too often ignored by colleagues, Solich chose to travel the college and professional ranks to update his knowledge of the game, broaden his perspectives on its nuances and challenges and ready himself for the next great challenge.
Stepping back from the sideline included wide-ranging visits to some of Division I-A's top programs as well and the schedule included much more than a courtesy call. His ambitious fact-finding odyssey included stops at Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Miami and Southern California.
Coming from his native Cleveland to Lincoln back in 1962, he was recruited to play fullback for the Cornhuskers as a part of Bob Devaney's first class of freshmen. During his time in the Husker program, Nebraska went 9-2, 10-1, 9-2 and 10-1. He earned All-Big Eight honors in 1965 and was the first Husker to rush for 200 yards in a game. His place in the Nebraska tradition was formalized with his induction into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
While his accomplishments as a player were impressive, his work as a gifted teacher and assistant coach perhaps had as much to do with his arrival in the shrine as anything. Nine of the 15 seasons he served as running backs coach, Nebraska led the nation in rushing. He recruited and coached 1983 Heisman winner Mike Rozier and produced at least one all-conference running back in thirteen of the fifteen years he mentored that position. As a head coach, Solich mentored Eric Crouch to the 2001 Heisman Trophy.