Sticking around

Ohio University head football coach Frank Solich, seen here in 2019 at Pitt, has agreed in principle to a contract extension — his fifth and ninth total contract amendment — that will keep him as the Bobcats’ head coach through at least 2020.

BOISE, Idaho — Frank Solich may be spending the week out west with the Bobcats getting ready for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

But Ohio’s head football coach will be returning to the sidelines in Athens next fall, and beyond.

Solich, who has more wins than any other coach in Mid-American Conference history, has agreed to terms for a multiple-year contract extension with Ohio University. Solich, now wrapping up his 15th season with the Bobcats, recently confirmed the yet-to-be-announced deal.

“It’s all been taken care,” Solich said. “I’ve signed it. It’s being passed through the system now and, so, we’re where we’re at on it.”

Julie Cromer, Ohio’s first year Director of Athletics, confirmed the two sides have agreed in principle to a contract extension but said the new contract amendment needed to go through “campus logistics” before Ohio could comment more fully on the matter.

Solich, thanks to a seventh contract amendment he signed on June 27, 2018, was under contract with OU through Jan. 3, 2020. Ohio (6-6) is scheduled to play Nevada (7-5) in the Potato Bowl on that day, and now it’s clear it will not be Solich’s final game with the Bobcat program.

Not there was any doubt about Solich continuing to coach at Ohio past Friday. Solich first mentioned the negations on the contract extension in mid-November. The process, since then, has moved along to his satisfaction.

“I think it’s good,” Solich said. “It’s been handled in a proper way and I appreciate how that’s all worked.”

It’s been business as usual at Peden Stadium since the regular season ended, with the Bobcats preparing for a bowl game, signing 11 recruits on national signing day, and then ramping bowl game preparations.

Solich didn’t believe his contract status, or lack of clarity beyond Jan. 3, affected any of the business of the program since the regular-season finale in late November.

“Absolutely not,” Solich said. “We’ve been up front about this from the start and it’s come along at a good pace.”

Solich ranks first in MAC history, and second at Ohio, with a record of 112-81 in his 15 seasons at OU. Solich trails only Don Peden (1924-46, 121 wins) for the most coaching wins in program history.

At 75, Solich is the oldest Football Bowl Subdivision coach in the country. With a career record of 170-100, he’s fourth among all active FBS head coaches in career wins; Solich trails Alabama’s Nick Saban, North Carolina’s Mack Brown and TCU’s Gary Patterson.

At Ohio, Solich has helped the Bobcats become bowl eligible in 13 of his 15 seasons with OU accepting invites to 11 bowl games. Ohio hasn’t had a losing season since 2008, and will have a chance to set a program record with a third-straight bowl win on Friday against Nevada.

The Bobcats have become a consistent winner under Solich and he’ll remain at the head of the program for the foreseeable future. Several sources within the athletic department expect the new contract extension to cover multiple additional seasons for Solich.

Solich has agreed to eight different contract amendments during his tenure with Ohio, and five of those amendments have including extensions for the length of the contract. Four of the five previous extensions guaranteed more than one additional year on the length of his contract.

Solich is due to make $654,928 this year at Ohio; that includes a $50,000 bonus if he is the head coach at the end of the season, but excludes potential bonuses.

Solich ranks third in reported salaries around the MAC, according to the USA Today data base. Toledo’s Jason Candle ($1,125,000) and Western Michigan’s Tim Lester ($800,000) are the MAC’s two highest-paid head coaches. All told, six MAC head coaches will make more than $600,000 for the 2019 season.

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