The Nebraska Cornhuskers fired former head coach Frank Solich after going 9-3 in 2003, and Solich is now being inducted into the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame.
Solich is joined by fellow coaches Danny Hale and Mark Dantonio in the 2024 class of coaches selected to be in the College Football Hall of Fame. Solich is one of 22 players and coaches to be a part of the 2024 class.
Solich is the seventh Nebraska coach to be elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. In an article from On3, legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne said he was deserving of the recognition.
“Frank Solich is very deserving of his selection in the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Osborne, Nebraska’s head coach from 1973 to 1997. “I want to thank him and congratulate him on all that he has done for the sport of football.
“Frank excelled as a running back at Nebraska and went on to have successful coaching stints at Omaha Holy Name and Lincoln Southeast high schools. He came to my coaching staff at Nebraska as a graduate assistant coach as I had no openings on my staff. This represented a considerable financial sacrifice on his part. He was a great recruiter, recruiting players like Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar and many others. He ran our football camps and coaches clinics and I could see that he had excellent management skills. He was good with football strategy and related well to players and the public.
“Most assistant coaches have areas of strengths and weaknesses, but Frank was accomplished in all areas so I recommended that he become the head coach in 1998. He won a Big 12 championship, played for a national championship and went to a bowl game each year at Nebraska.”
Solich’s firing at Nebraska is often cited as one of the biggest mistakes in the program’s history. The Cornhuskers were used to winning national championships under Osborne, and they didn’t realize how bad things could be after firing a coach for getting nine wins.
Nebraska Cornhuskers former head coach Frank Solich became a legend for the Ohio Bobcats
After being fired from Nebraska, Solich became the head coach for the Ohio Bobcats from 2005-2020. During that time, he won 115 games and four division titles. He cemented himself as a legend in Athens, Ohio.
Coach. Legend. Hall of Famer.
Frank Solich is a NFF College Football Hall of Fame Inductee!
— Ohio Football (@OhioFootball) January 8, 2024
Frank Solich is a coaching legend! https://t.co/kgJSahdeO6
— Bob Becker (@Bob_916) January 8, 2024
Solich only ever had two losing seasons in his 22 seasons as a head coach. Both of those seasons came within his first four years at Ohio. From 2009-2020, Solich never finished a season with a losing record.
Solich led the Bobcats to 11 bowl appearances during his tenure. He is the winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have yet to return to glory after the firing of Frank Solich
Since firing Solich in 2003, the Huskers ended a season with more than nine wins just three times. In that time, they have never finished a season with more than 10 wins.
The last time Nebraska was able to reach the nine-win mark was under head coach Mike Riley in 2016. They haven’t amassed more than five wins since that year. Many Husker fans attribute the two decades of mediocrity to “the curse of Frank Solich.”
The legend of the curse even grew to such a degree that Solich himself addressed it in a press conference. The Cornhuskers honored Solich’s time with the team in an attempt to eliminate any remaining bad blood between the coach and the program.
🗣️”…let’s just say it’s gone now.”
— Hurrdat Sports (@HurrdatSports) April 21, 2023
The Frank Solich curse has often been cited as the reason for the Cornhuskers’ bad luck in recent years. The Cornhuskers loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes at the end of the season was the 18th loss in a one-score game in the last three seasons. The Huskers are 2-18 in one-score games in that time frame.
No football program since 1900 has lost more games by 8 points or fewer in a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 year span than the #Huskers
— Arbitrary Analytics (@arbitanalytics) November 24, 2023
So many losses in one-score games seems statistically improbable. This is why many Nebraska fans still cite the “Frank Solich curse.”
I’m positive that Frank Solich put a curse on Nebraska after 2003.
— ERP (@TheAuthenticEP) September 22, 2018
It’s the Frank Solich Curse… https://t.co/LI1xeD0LB6
— 🇺🇸 The Life of Bryan ™️ 🇺🇦 (@NVSooner) October 10, 2021
It is a curse. It descended on our program when Frank Solich was fired. Removing Dr. Tom’s handpicked successor disrupted the natural order of things. Hence “The Curse”.
— Steve Rider (@Sfrider62) November 25, 2023
The Frank Solich curse lives on. https://t.co/EC2mAiw7jX
— Soleil Moon Child 🇵🇦 (@LovEvolve) September 10, 2023
Despite Solich personally “lifting” the curse, head coach Matt Rhule went 0-6 in one score games this year. Things are looking up for the Cornhuskers as they have recently signed a five-star quarterback in Dylan Raiola.
It is one of the biggest signings in the program’s history, and it has already led to more success on the recruiting trail. The father of Dylan Raiola is Dominic Raiola, who won the Rimington Award at Nebraska while being coached by Solich.