Updated Thu, Sep 27, 2012 6:35 pm
Former Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne announced Wednesday that he is retiring from his position as Athletic Director for the University of Nebraska effective January 1. Osborne has held the position since 2007. Prior to overseeing the Nebraska Athletic Department, Osborne coached Nebraska football for 25 seasons from 1973 to 1997. During that time, Osborne compiled 255 wins and led the Cornhuskers to three national championships.
Osborne also hired current Ohio head football coach Frank Solich as an assistant. This was Solich’s first collegiate coaching job.
"I was teaching and coaching at Southeast High School in Lincoln...and he had contacted me and asked me if I'd be interested in looking at a position," said Solich when asked how he got his first job on Osborne's staff. "It was like a part-time position."
In 1979, Solich, who graduated from Nebraska in 1966, began a 19-year stint at his alma matter as a member of Osborne’s staff.
"That meant a lot," said Solich. "It certainly felt very much like home to me...I'm so glad that I was able to spend as much time as I did in the state of Nebraska."
Solich spent four seasons as the coach of Nebraska’s freshman team before being appointed to running backs coach for the Huskers. Nebraska produced All-Conference runners in 13 of the 15 seasons Solich was in charge of the backs and led the nation in rushing in nine of those seasons. Solich also recruited and coached 1983 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier.
In 1997, Osborne stepped down as Nebraska head coach, and Solich was named his successor. Solich went on to win 49 games in six seasons at Nebraska before being let go by the athletic department, and in 2005, he began coaching at Ohio University.
Solich admits to learning "obviously a lot about X's and O's" form his former mentor, but he also picked up on some of the more subtle things that made Osborne a legend.
"(I learned) how to treat players and handle players...not to try to get too excited about some things and too down about others," said Solich. "(Osborne) was very much an even-keeled kind of guy, and so his temperament was something I felt would be smart to try to model after.
"I hope, all those years with him, some of the good stuff rubbed off."