ATHENS, Ohio -- Frank Solich has built the Ohio football program into one of the Mid-American Conference's most consistently successful over the last 15 years.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, Solich etched his place in MAC history, becoming the conference's winningest head coach with his 111th victory -- an impressive 66-24 triumph over East Division rival Bowling Green.
"It seemed like it stalled itself out a little bit for awhile, but we're interested in winning football games, and this record goes with it," said Solich, who surpassed former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi (110 wins; 1978-93) as the conference's wins leader. "I feel really good about it, but a lot of people were involved in this. A lot of great players over the years that have come through Ohio that have set the tradition to where we were able to recruit well and win football games. There have been tremendous athletes and tremendous coaches. If you have that combination, you're going to have a few wins. A lot of people have been involved in winning some football games, so I appreciate everything that people have been done during my time at Ohio. I will say this, it is as good as I could ever hope for in a coaching business in terms of those 15 years and how it all worked."
Solich has turned the Bobcats into one of the Mid-American Conference's premier programs since his arrival in Athens in 2005.
Ohio is 111-81 during the Solich era. His 111 victories are the second-most in program history behind behind Don Peden (121; 1924-46). Ohio has gone 74-45 in conference play since Solich's arrival in Athens. His 74 MAC wins rank second to Deromedi's 90.
"Congratulations to Coach Solich on becoming the Mid-American Conference's all-time winningest head coach," said Ohio Director of Athletics Julie Cromer. "This achievement is a tribute to the hard work that Frank, his coaching staff and student-athletes have put in to turning our football program into one of the most consistently successful in the conference over the last 15 years."
Solich entered the 2019 season as the dean of MAC head coaches. He is tied with Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy for fouth among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches in terms of longest tenure with their current school. Only Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (21 years), TCU's Gary Patterson (20 years) and Utah's Kyle Whittingham (16 years) have served as head coach at their respective institutions longer. Prior to arriving in Athens, Solich spent six years as head coach at his alma mater, Nebraska. Solich's 21 years of experience tie him with Ferentz (21 years) for the third-most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, ranking behind North Carolina's Mack Brown (30 years) and Alabama's Nick Saban (24).
Solich owns a career coaching record of 169-100. His 169 wins rank as the fourth most among active NCAA FBS head coaches, trailing only Brown (248), Saban (241) and TCU's Gary Patterson (172). He is well-respected by his peers, having been named the president of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in addition to receiving the Tom Osborne Legacy Award in January of 2019.
Prior to Solich's arrival in Athens, the Bobcats had enjoyed only two winning seasons in the previous 22 years. The tone was set for his tenure at Ohio in his first home game as head coach of the Bobcats on Sept. 9, 2005 -- a 16-10 upset of Pittsburgh in overtime on national television. The following year, Solich guided the Bobcats to a nine-win season, a MAC East Division title and the program's first bowl game appearance since 1968.
The 2009 season kicked off a run of 10-straight non-losing seasons that has included nine winning campaigns and six years with at least nine victories -- including a 10-win campaign in 2011. The 2012 season began with the Bobcats earning a signature win at Penn State, upsetting the Nittany Lions by a score of 24-14. Ohio captured division titles in 2009, '11 and '16. Solich has led the Bobcats to the first four bowl victories in program history, with back-to-back wins in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and '12 Independence Bowl and back-to-back victories in the 2017 Bahamas Bowl and '18 DXL Frisco Bowl.
Solich has coached four All-America honorees and nine NFL Draft Picks during his time at Ohio. The Bobcats have tallied 103 All-MAC selections over the last 15 years.
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.
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.