Ohio Bobcats head coach Frank Solich retires after 16 years, tributes pour in: 'What a run!'
Ohio Bobcats head coach Frank Solich sparked an outpouring of love and respect after it emerged that he was stepping down to focus on his health.
The 76-year-old compiled an overall record of 115-82 during his tenure, including a 77-46 record in MAC (Mid-American Conference) play. Associate head coach and offensive coordinator Tim Albin was made the new head coach after he agreed to a four-year contract, athletic director Julie Cromer revealed, 247 Sports reported.
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"After fifty-five years in coaching, including 16 at Ohio University, it is time for me to step away to focus on a cardiovascular health issue," Solich announced in a press release. "I've appreciated the support of Bobcat fans over the years, and I know they will continue to support Coach Albin. 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."
Solich spent six years at Nebraska from 1998 to 2003, compiling a 58-19 with a 33-15 mark in the Big 12. He joined Ohio in 2005. "Coach Solich has been a deeply valued part of the Ohio University family not only for his record on the field but also for his support of student-athletes and their success at OHIO and after graduation," said Ohio University President Hugh Sherman. "I'm thankful for his leadership and for the continuity that Tim Albin will bring as he steps into the role of head football coach. He knows our program and our players and has been a significant part of the team's success."
Social media was inundated with tributes to the legendary football coach's career.
"Frank Solich originally wanted to be an FBI agent. After playing at Nebraska, he nearly did. I visited Solich in Athens a few years back. It really can’t be understated how good of a job he did at Ohio. That program had been down for decades," football reporter Chris Vannini tweeted.
"People forget what Ohio football was like before Frank Solich because it was forever ago (I was a freshman.) The consistent winning was remarkable and unprecedented," Cleveland Brows writer Andrew Gribble added.
"What a run Frank Solich had at Ohio," journalist Sean Callahan commented. "Solid coach. Nebraska didn’t work out, but he didn’t quit on coaching. Hopefully, retired life will be good to him," one Twitter user wrote.
Frank Solich originally wanted to be an FBI agent. After playing at Nebraska, he nearly did.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) July 14, 2021
I visited Solich in Athens a few years back. It really can’t be understated how good of a job he did at Ohio. That program had been down for decades. https://t.co/E1moTDqudE pic.twitter.com/4d5EYWnKrZ
People forget what Ohio football was like before Frank Solich because it was forever ago (I was a freshman.)— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) July 14, 2021
The consistent winning was remarkable and unprecedented.
What a run Frank Solich had at Ohio. https://t.co/fQkrTJuifY— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) July 14, 2021
Solid coach. Nebraska didn’t work out, but he didn’t quit on coaching. Hopefully retired life will be good to him. https://t.co/MnFy27kJFW— Ben (@aubenindc) July 14, 2021
Ohio has appeared in 11 bowl games and won the last three fixtures under Solich's guidance. Legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne lauded Solich’s tenure at Ohio in 2019. “You look at a program that I think in 40 or 50 years had one bowl game, and now he’s gone to I think 10 in the last 14 years. If you win 8 or 9 games at Ohio, that’s probably like winning 10, 11, or 12 games at a Power Five conference, because you always have to play those two or three money games where you really have to play programs that probably have more resources than you have,” he said at the time.
Meanwhile, Albin is looking forward to succeeding Solich. "It is truly an honor to lead the Ohio University football program and I want to express my gratitude to President Sherman and Director of Athletics Julie Cromer for their belief in me," Albin said in Wednesday morning's press release. "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. Our team will provide an unmatched student-athlete experience both on and off the field and we will graduate young men prepared to succeed in life. With the help of our incredible staff, I know great things lie ahead, and our work continues."