Ohio University football coach Frank Solich retires after 16 seasons to focus on health

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Frank Solich is stepping down as Ohio University’s football coach in order to focus on a cardiovascular health issue, the school announced Wednesday.

Solich, 76, leaves as the winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history after leading the Bobcats to a 115-82 record over 16 seasons. His tenure included 12 winning seasons, 11 bowl appearances and four MAC East Division titles. Including a stint as coach at Nebraska, his alma mater, Solich is 173-101 as a major college football head coach.

The Bobcats had only twice been to a bowl game prior to Solich’s arrival in 2005.

Solich retired with a career coaching record of 173-101, including 115-82 at Ohio U.
Solich retired with a career coaching record of 173-101, including 115-82 at Ohio U.

“We are so grateful for all that Coach Solich has given to Ohio University and, especially, to our football program,” athletic director Julie Cromer said in a statement. “He has elevated our program to incredible heights and his legacy rests not only in the on-the-field accomplishments, but also in the lives of hundreds of Bobcats who learned about football — and life — from Coach.

“I am excited that he has agreed to serve as a close advisor to me and as a resource to our students, coaches and staff. We look forward to opportunities in the coming year to show our appreciation for Coach Solich and to celebrate his legacy.”

Solich will be replaced by offensive coordinator Tim Albin, who has agreed to a four-year contract.

“I’ve appreciated the support of Bobcat fans over the years, and I know they will continue to support Coach Albin,” Solich said. “After working directly with Tim for 21 consecutive years, including six at the University of Nebraska, it’s clear to me he is prepared to continue our work and move the program forward. I am happy for Tim and his family.”

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.

Email Joey Kaufman jkaufman@dispatch.com or follow on Twitter @joeyrkaufman

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Frank Solich retires after 16 seasons as Ohio University coach