More than 15 years after his firing as Nebraska head football coach, Frank Solich is back in the Cornhusker State to receive the Tom Osborne Legacy award.
Solich will be honored Wednesday evening at the Outland Trophy Award banquet at Omaha’s DoubleTree Inn.
On Tuesday, Solich made his first public comments to Nebraska media since his November 2003 firing, a day after the Huskers finished with a 9-win season with a victory at Colorado. He was asked about what went through his mind that day he was let go.
“I don’t know I was ever in shock,” Solich said. “Coaching, especially the sport of football, is a tough business to be in.”
Solich had been part of the Nebraska football coaching staff for 25 years, after being hired as an assistant by Osborne in 1979. Following Osborne’s final season in 1997, Solich was named his successor. He was the last Husker coach to win a conference title (Big 12 in 1999) and led Nebraska to a national championship game appearance in the 2002 Rose Bowl, where they lost the 2001 title game to Miami.
Following a 7-7 season, which included a loss in the Independence Bowl, in 2002, Solich made changes in his coaching staff for the 2003 season. After some lopsided losses, including to Kansas State, Solich was relieved of his coaching duties after the 2003 regular season.
But Solich said he managed to move on and keep doing what he loves, coaching football.
He was hired at Ohio University, where he has coached the past 15 seasons.
Before his college coaching career, Solich spent the better part of his life in Nebraska as a player for Bob Devaney (1962-65), then broke into the coaching ranks in high school at Omaha Holy Name 1966 to 1967 and later at Lincoln Southeast (1968-78), where he led the Knights to Class A state titles in 1976 and 1977.
This stop in Nebraska isn’t the first one Solich has made since his departure from the Husker football program. He says he still returns occasionally to Lincoln, to visit his daughter’s family.
Solich believes current Husker coach Scott Frost is the right person for the job.
“I think he’s a bright coach. So I think it will all fit,” he said.