Ohio coach Frank Solich, the winningest in MAC history, retires after 16 seasons amid health concerns

Longtime Ohio coach Frank Solich is stepping down after 16 seasons with the Bobcats program to focus on his health, the university announced on Wednesday. Solich, 76, the oldest active FBS coach, will move into an athletic department advisor role under athletic director Julie Cromer.

The Bobcats won’t be looking far for his replacement as associate head coach and offensive coordinator Tim Albin has been elevated to the top job after agreeing to a four-year contract with Ohio.

“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,” said Solich. “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.”

A former player at Nebraska from 1963-65, Solich became the coach of the Cornhuskers from 1998-2003 as the successor to the legendary Tom Osborne. Solich went 58-19 in six seasons with three 10-win campaigns and a Big 12 championship in 1999. However, he was under immense pressure to repeat the success the Huskers experienced under Osborne and was fired before the conclusion of the 2003 season. 

Solich became the coach at Ohio in 2005 and won the first of his four MAC East titles in 2006. Ohio enjoyed 12-straight non-losing seasons beginning in 2009, including 11 winning seasons and a 10-win campaign in 2011. The Bobcats appeared in 10 bowl games over the past 12 years under Solich, who was named the MAC Coach of the Year in 2016. 

Ohio finished 2020 with a 2-1 record in a modified season shortened by COVID-19. 

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

“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.”

Solich leaves college football as one of its most successful coaches. His 173-101 overall record ranks fourth among active NCAA FBS coaches and his 115 victories at Ohio makes him the winningest coach in MAC history. His 16 years with the program are tied for the most in MAC history along with former Central Michigan coach Herb Deromedi. 

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