KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There’s nothing too flashy about Ohio football, but veteran coach Frank Solich has brought the Bobcats stability and respectably, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
Indeed, there’s more to know than what meets the eye with these Bobcats, who have the only staff in the nation to feature the same head coach, defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator the past 12 years.
The 72-year-old Solich has a rich football background that pre-dates his tenure at Ohio, having played for and coached several years at Nebraska.
Once known as “Fearless Frank” when he played running back for the Cornhuskers, Solich was an All-Big Eight performer and was co-captain of the team in 1965.
In fact, Solich was the first Nebraska player to run for 200 yards in a game and the first Cornhuskers player to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
After spending 19 years as an assistant to Tom Osborne on the Nebraska coaching staff, Solich took over as head coach in 1998, winning the Big 12 title in 1999 en route to beating one of the most talented Tennessee teams in school history in the Fiesta Bowl, 31-21, but he was fired with a 9-3 record after the 2003 regular season.
Nebraska hasn’t won a conference title since, and Solich has turned what was once a perennial loser at Ohio into a consistent winner since been hired there in 2005.
This will be Ohio’s second game against the Vols. In 2009, Solich and the Bobcats came to Neyland Stadium and lost to Lane Kiffin’s UT team 34-23.
About Ohio University
Location: Athens, Ohio
Famous alumni: NBC Today host Matt Lauer; Sporting News writer Bill Bender; Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Fame baseball player Mike Schmidt; Entertainer Arsenio Hall; Actor Paul Newman; Daniel Carp, CEO of Eastman Kodak Company.
By the numbers
0-2: Solich went head-to-head with Tennessee coach Butch Jones twice when Jones was at Central Michigan, losing a home game to Jones and his Chippewas in 2008 (31-28), and again in the MAC title game in 2009 (20-10)
14: Ohio returns 14 position starters from its offense and defense of a year ago.
31-29: Camellia Bowl score, Appalachian State beating Ohio at the end of last season on a last-second field goal.
2: Number of bowl wins in Ohio University history, both under Solich in 2011 and 2012
630: Yards that Ohio allowed in a 56-54 triple overtime loss to Texas State in its season opener.
329: Yards that Ohio rushed for in its 37-21 win at Kansas last Saturday.
20: Career sacks for Ohio senior Tarrell Basham, most in school history