Graduated from Ohio University
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ATHENS, Ohio—The Ohio Football Program announced today (August 18) that the Ohio University Board of Trustees has agreed to name the football field at Peden Stadium for the former head coach Franck Solich.
“I am honored by this recognition and I pay tribute to all the players and coaches who have accompanied me throughout my journey,” said Solich. “The support of Bobcats students, fans and donors has always been appreciated and I thank them as well for their part in our success.”
Solich started his Ohio legacy with a bang, earning his first home win on his debut at Peden Stadium against Pitt. Dion Byrum returned two interceptions for touchdowns to win the game; the former tied the Bobcats and Panthers, 7-7, in the first quarter. With seconds remaining in the game, a Pitt field goal again tied the game, but Byrum’s 85-yard overtime interception return secured the 16–10 victory.
After serving as head coach from 2005 to 2021, Solich won the Mid-American Conference’s winningest coaching title with an overall record of 115-82. In the Ohio history books, his 115 wins put him second only to Don Peden, who coached the Bobcats to 121 wins (1924-46). Solich’s 77 conference wins put him second only to former Central Michigan head coach Herb Deromedi, who recorded 90 MAC wins, while his 16 years in service equaled Deromedi’s (1978-93 ) for the most in the history of the MAC.
Under Solich’s leadership, the Bobcats went 12 consecutive undefeated seasons, including six years with at least nine wins and highlighted by a 10-win campaign in 2011. Solich led Ohio to the division titles in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2016, winner MAC Coach of the Year in 2016.
The 2012 Bobcats opened the season with a 24-14 victory at Penn State. After entering the third quarter trailing 14-3, two touchdowns in the third gave Ohio a three-point lead. They cemented their win in the fourth with a 14-play, 93-yard drive, extending their lead over the Nittany Lions to 10 points.
Solich coached Ohio to 11 bowl appearances, earning the first five bowl victories in program history with back-to-back wins in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and ’12 Independence Bowl and back-to-back wins in 2017. Bahamas Bowl, ’18 DXL Frisco Bowl and ’20 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (2019 season).
“It really is a well-deserved honor. Frank meant a lot to so many players and coaches who have been on this court with him,” said former defensive coordinator Jimmy Burrow. “What better way to show what he has done for the Ohio University football program and Ohio University than to name the field after him. We can all be very proud that the field always be known as the Franck Solich Field.”
Many Solich student-athletes have gone on to professional careers. Nine Solich-era Bobcats were drafted, with others entering the NFL as free agents. Notably, Tarell Basham was the Indianapolis Colts’ third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft before being taken off waivers by the New York Jets in 2018. In 2021, Basham signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
Current free agent TJ Carrie was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2014, where he played four seasons before signing a four-year contract with the Browns in 2018 and the Colts in 2020. Stallions in 2020; the stallions won the inaugural USFL championship. Among the 2021 Bobcats, De’Montre Tuggle and Armani Rogers are on the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders practice squads, respectively.
Five Solich Bobcats are currently active in the CFL. Nathan Rourke is the starting quarterback for the BC Lions, defensive tackle Casey Sayles is on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers roster, receiver Papi White plays for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats while running back Maleek Irons is on the Tiger-Cats practice squad and short-back AJ Ouellette plays for the Toronto Argonauts. Rourke was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player five times and currently leads in passing yards (2,906), passing touchdowns (23) and passing percentage (80.1%).
Solich’s legacy extends beyond notable victories and successful athletes – he has maintained strong and loyal coaching teams from the start. Head coach Tim Albin joined Solich’s Nebraska staff in 2000 as an offensive graduate assistant before being promoted to running backs coach and passing game coordinator in 2003. He came to Athens with Solich in 2005, remaining as offensive coordinator until promoted to manager. coach in 2021 when Solich retires. Burrow was also a graduate assistant at Nebraska from 2001-2002 before joining Solich’s inaugural team in Ohio, remaining the defensive coordinator for the Bobcats until his retirement in 2018. Pete Germano served as the scouting coordinator for the Ohio for four years before Solich and remained on his team. serving in various coaching roles until 2011. After five seasons as Fresno State’s defensive line coach, Germano returned to Ohio, where he remained until his retirement.
“Coach Solich is more than the winningest coach in Ohio and MAC history, he’s been my mentor and friend for nearly 25 years,” Albin said. “He changed the culture and perception of athletics at Ohio University for the better, bringing our department to the forefront of the conference and helping us set the standard for what a successful program could look like. at Ohio University. I owe Coach Solich and his wife Pam a lot, as do our current staff. This honor couldn’t go to a more deserving man, and I’m beyond excited for Coach. and his family.
Solich was an integral part of Nebraska’s coaching staff for 25 years, capped off with six seasons as head coach of the Cornhuskers. Under his leadership, the Huskers recorded at least nine wins in five of his six seasons as head coach, highlighted by a 12-1 record, the Big 12 championship and eventual No. 2 ranking in 1999, which earned him the title of National Coach for Home Depot. Honors of the year. Prior to becoming a head coach, Solich was named the 1993 National Assistant Coach of the Year by Athlon magazine.
With 173 career wins, Solich ranks fourth among the most active NCAA FBS head coaches.
The field will be named Franck Solich The field debuts in the first home game of the 2022 season against Florida Atlantic (September 3), with an official field dedication ceremony taking place on senior night against Northern Illinois (October 22).