Former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich is one of nine FBS coaches to earn a spot on the 2023 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame announced the ballot of players and coaches on Monday morning.
Solich in his first season of eligibility on the ballot after retiring as head coach at Ohio University in July of 2021. During his 22 seasons as a head coach, Solich compiled a record of 173-101, including a 58-19 record in six seasons as Nebraska’s head coach from 1998 to 2003.
Solich led the Huskers to the 1999 Big 12 Conference championship. NU added a co-Big 12 North Division title in 2001, when the Huskers met Miami in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. The Huskers finished No. 3 in the AP Poll in 1999 after beating Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl and rolling to a 22-6 win over Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Nebraska added a final No. 8 national ranking by the Associated Press in both 2000 and 2001. The 2001 Huskers featured the nation’s top college player-Heisman Trophy winner and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Eric Crouch. A four-year starter, Crouch added Walter Camp National Player-of-the-Year and Davey O’Brien awards while becoming Nebraska’s career leader in total offense.
A product of the Nebraska football program first as a player, then as an assistant coach, Solich’s career at Nebraska spanned 41 seasons since first arriving in Lincoln in 1962 to play fullback in Coach Bob Devaney’s first season.
Although Solich was not with Nebraska during all 42 of those seasons, as he spent years as a high school head coach in Nebraska before joining the Husker coaching staff as an assistant in 1979. During his playing and coaching tenure as a Husker, all 29 Nebraska teams he was associated with played in a bowl game.
In his final game as NU’s assistant head coach and running backs coach, Solich helped the Huskers to a third national championship in a four-year span with a resounding 42-17 win over Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, helping Osborne go out as a reigning national champion.
Following his head coaching career at Nebraska, Solich guided Ohio University’s program for 16 seasons from 2005 to 2020. During his time at Ohio, Solich coached the Bobcats to 12 winning seasons, 11 bowl appearances and four MAC East division titles. He is the winningest coach in the history of the Mid-American Conference.
In addition to serving as the head coach for one Hall of Fame player (Crouch) and an assistant for another (Mike Rozier), Solich played for Hall of Fame head coach Bob Devaney and worked for 19 seasons as an assistant coach under Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne.
Overall, Nebraska has 26 representatives in the College Football Hall of Fame, including 20 players and six head coaches. Zach Wiegert is the most recent honoree as part of the 2022 Hall of Fame class and will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in December.
The announcement of the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be made in early 2023, with specific details to be announced in the future.
The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5, 2023, and permanently immortalized at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. They will also be honored at their respective schools with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the 2023 season.
The criteria for Hall of Fame consideration for coaches includes:
- A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.
- Nominations may only be submitted by the current athletics director, head coach or sports information director (SID) of a potential candidate’s collegiate institution. Nominations may also be submitted by the president/executive director of a dues-paying chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Picture and story courtesy of Huskers.com