Ohio coach Frank Solich stepping down to ‘focus on health’

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ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio coach Frank Solich is retiring after leading the program through 16 seasons of unprecedented success to “focus on his health,” the school said Wednesday.

The school announced that Solich was stepping down less than two months before the start of the season and his 77th birthday.

Offensive coordinator Tim Albin was promoted to head coach. Albin received a four-year contract, Ohio athletic director Julie Cromer said in a statement.

Solich is the winningest head coach in the history of the Mid-American Conference with 115 victories. Including a stint as coach at Nebraska, his alma mater, Solich is 173-101 as a major college football head coach.

Under Solich, Ohio went to 11 bowl games after going to only two before he arrived. All five of the Bobcats’ bowl victories came during his tenure.

“We are so grateful for all that Coach Solich has given Ohio University, and especially, to our football program,” Cromer said.

Ohio won division titles and reached the MAC championship game four times under Solich. The Bobcats never did break through and win it all under Solich. Ohio last won the MAC in 1968. But the program never won more consistently than it did under the Cleveland native who played fullback at Nebraska.

Solich’s first head coaching job was at Nebraska, where he replaced Hall of Famer Tom Osborne in 1998.

Solich went 58-19 with the Cornhuskers, but following Osborne’s long stretch of lofty achievements, that wasn’t good enough.

Solich was fired after going 9-3 in the 2003 regular season. Nebraska’s last conference championship remains the Big 12 title it won in 1999 under Solich.

Albin has been an assistant under Solich at Ohio since 2005, directing some of the most prolific offenses in school history. Albin also worked under Solich at Nebraska.

“I am forever indebted to Coach Solich for all that he has offered me and taught me through the years, and I know he will always be part of our program,” Albin said.