If you’ve been keeping up with the Hustle Hall of Fame over the last few weeks, you are aware of what’s happening. Fan voting has decided the first of two entrants for each MAC member to craft an inaugural Class of 2017 for the Hustle Hall of Fame. Next up to be inducted to the Hustle Hall of Fame isthe current head football coach of the Ohio Bobcats, Frank Solich.
Mike Schmidt is the other Ohio inductee in the inaugural Class of 2017.
It takes a lot to suffer a fall from grace and build yourself back up.
Frank Solich was on top of the world at Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska in their Big Red hayday in the 1990’s, going on multiple runs at both conference championships and national titles. Solich, a former Nebraska fullback himself, was considered amongst the coaching elite of his generation.
In the 24 years Solich served on the coaching staff of his alma mater, Nebraska won three national championships and 12 conference titles and Solich won two Big 12 Coach of the Year honors. Despite that pedigree, at the end of the 2003 season, Solich was abruptly fired after an 9-3 season in which the Corhuskers ranked 18/19 in the Coaches and AP polls.
Solich took a year off and was then hired at Ohio University in 2005, a program that had not tasted any sort of glory in the MAC since 1968. That season was the last time Ohio had won the MAC or qualified for a bowl game. By his second season at the helm, Solich had the Bobcats bowling. Since that fateful 2006 season, the ‘Cats have gone to seven bowl games and have won the division three times in that same span.
The quick turnaround and the team’s consistent compettiveness in the MAC East is a testament to Solich’s coaching genuis. His 88-67 record and eight bowl appearances at Ohio is impressive, considering the program had a .475 winning percentage and zero bowl appearances in the three decades leading to his hire.
That savvy and leadership alone is worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame, even if his career at the college level hasn’t ended as of yet.