Today marks day 98 until we join the Big Ten. Yesterday's piece was about Nebraska's tradition of balloons after the first touchdown of a game. Today's piece looks at a former coach that had to follow the greatest coach in school history. He's a forgotten man in these parts. Stuck between Tom Osborne's juggernaut and Bill Callahan's complete failure, was the Frank Solich era. His first year as our head coach was in 19(98). That was a tough year for Husker fans.
We weren't use to losing and we lost 4 games. The loss to A&M broke our 19-game winning streak and 40 game regular season conference winning streak. I repeat, 40 games. We hadn't lost a conference regular season game since Iowa State in 1992 (which by-the-way is the only time that Tom Osborne ever lost to a team with a sub-.500 record). We also lost to Texas that year when Ricky Williams ran wild and snapped our 47-game home winning streak. This dated back to the Washington game in 1991. The loss to Kansas State snapped our 29-game winning streak vs. the Wildcats and then we lost to another group of Wildcats in the Holiday Bowl.Things did get better. 1999 Nebraska avenged it's only loss of the year (to Texas) in the Big XII title game and then took it to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl. 2000 Nebraska had the best team on paper but underachieved in losses to Oklahoma and Kansas State(in the snow). 2001 Nebraska was probably Franks best team and went into Black Friday undefeated only to be smoked by Colorado and beaten down by Miami in the Rose Bowl. The loss to Colorado exposed a huge weakness with Nebraska and along with the graduation of Eric Crouch, led to a 7-7 year in 2002. This was a very humbling year for Nebraska and led to a lot of staff changes where some old coaches that had been around for years were let go. This also brought Bo Pelini into the National Spotlight.
The 2003 Huskers were much improved and things seemed to be looking bright again, until Steve Pederson showed up. After a 10-3 season and a career 58-19 record, Frank was dismissed. When commercials are run about current and former Nebraska coaches, you never see Frank. He's the man that had a .75 win percentage at Nebraska and it seems like he is exiled and forgotten in the state.
He landed back on his feet again in 2005 as the head coach at Ohio University where he has lead the team to two division championships and three bowl games. He has a record of 98-55 at Ohio University.
A lot of people feel that Frank is a pretty good guy and tends to get a bad rap. Also, many around these parts really felt like his dismissal was done improperly. He had poured his heart and soul into the program for decades and one day he was just gone. So on day 98, let's remember Frank and the things he did for the University and the football team. Post your favorite Frank Solich moment today!
Also, there have been requests for suggesting topics for our countdown. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to post it and we will see it we can work it in! As always, if there is something you love and want to write about, create a fanpost!
Tomorrows topic: Disputed Championships and one of our new Big Ten brothers.