June 26, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - Ohio University football head coach Frank Solich is the recipient of The Nebraska Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Coaching Award for his 29 years on the Nebraska coaching staff. Solich is the first person to achieve Hall of Fame status both as a player (1962-65) and head coach (1998-2003).
Solich was named Tom Osborne's successor at Nebraska on Dec. 10, 1997. As head coach from 1998 to 2003, he guided NU to a 58-19 record (.753 winning percentage).
"To be mentioned along with some of the all-time greats in Nebraska football history is a tremendous honor for me," Solich said. "During my time at Nebraska, I had the opportunity to work with several talented athletes and coaches, who all played a major role in our success."
During his time as head coach of the Cornhuskers, Solich was twice named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and placed three teams in the final AP top 10. His Huskers won the Big 12 Conference North Division twice, tied for another and beat Texas for the league crown in 1999. He sent teams to the Rose, Holiday, Fiesta, Independence and two Alamo Bowls. His Huskers went outside the league to beat Notre Dame twice, while also downing Penn State, California, Washington and TCU.
After a 9-4 record in his first season as head coach in 1998, Solich's 1999 team went 12-1, beat Texas for the conference title, and downed Tennessee 31-21 in the Fiesta Bowl to finish with a No. 2/3 final ranking in the coaches/AP polls. After going 10-2 in 2000 and finishing No. 8 in the AP Poll, Solich led the Huskers to an 11-2 record in 2001, a share of the Big 12 North Division title and an appearance in the BCS title game in the Rose Bowl against Miami.
The 2001 Huskers featured the nation's top college player - Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch. While Crouch captured a Heisman Trophy on the field in 2001, Kyle Vanden Bosch earned the nation's highest academic honor in 2000, capturing the Vincent dePaul Draddy Award. Following a 7-7 split of his 14-game schedule in 2002, Solich added current Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini as his defensive coordinator. The Huskers responded with a 10-3 season in 2003, Solich's final year at Nebraska.
After taking a year away from the game in 2004, Solich returned to the sidelines in 2005 to serve as the head coach at Ohio University. Since arriving in Athens, Solich has posted a seven-year record of 50-40 at Ohio and a 13-year career record of 108-59 at Ohio and Nebraska. He guided the Ohio Bobcats to a 10-4 record, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Division title and a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2011--the school's first bowl victory. He also led Ohio to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the New Orleans Bowl in 2010, to an overall record of 9-5 with an appearance in the MAC Championship as well as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2009, and to the MAC East Division title and a berth in the GMAC Bowl in 2006.
After posting a 4-7 record in his first year at the helm of the Bobcats in 2005, Solich earned MAC Coach of the Year honors in 2006. The Bobcats' 46 wins since 2006 are the most victories by any school in the Mid-American Conference during that period. He was named to the AFCA Board of Trustees in 2008.
A product of the Nebraska football program first as a player (1962-66 - different years than listed above), then as an assistant coach (1979-98), Solich's career at Nebraska spanned 41 seasons. He spent 13 years as a high school head coach in Nebraska before joining the Husker coaching staff as an assistant in 1979.
Solich's first assignment on Osborne's staff was head freshman coach, and Solich finished his four years as freshman coach with a 19-1 record, before taking over as running backs coach in 1983. Noted as one of the nation's top assistant coaches, Solich was tabbed Athlon Magazine's Assistant Coach of the Year before the start of the 1993 season.
In nine of Solich's 15 seasons as running backs coach, Nebraska led the nation in rushing, and finished in the top four every year. In the same period, the Huskers led the conference in rushing 13 times, including each of the last 10 seasons, and finished second in 1986 and 1987. In fact, NU churned out more than 350 yards per game while Solich guided the running backs.
Solich recruited and coached 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier. He also produced at least one all-conference running back in 13 of the 15 seasons he tutored that position. In Solich's 19 years as an assistant, the Huskers captured three national championships, all with Solich as assistant head coach. Nebraska also won 11 league championships, earned 19 postseason bowl bids and had 15 teams finish the season ranked in the nation's top 10.
In his final game as NU's assistant head coach and running backs coach, Solich helped the Huskers to a third national championship in four years with a resounding 42-17 win over Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, helping Osborne go out as a reigning national champion, the only Division I-A coach to do so.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Solich was a member of Bob Devaney's first recruiting class in 1962. As a fullback, Solich earned All-Big Eight honors in 1965 and was the first Husker to rush for 200 yards in a game. His playing career earned him induction into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1992.