Solich fries

After winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise on Jan. 3, Ohio Bobcat players dump a load of french fries on Head Coach Frank Solich. Provided photo by Abigail Dean.

Just prior to the Ohio University football Bobcats winning a bowl game in Boise, Idaho, on Friday, Jan. 3, Frank Solich, OU’s head football coach for the last 15 seasons, received a two-year contract extension.

Solich, 75, in a news release from Ohio Athletics issued on Jan. 1, was described as the “winningest head coach in Mid-American Conference history,” as well as the second-longest-serving coach in MAC history.

The Bobcats beat the University of Nevada’s Wolf Pack 30-21 at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Friday at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, which was OU’s 11th bowl appearance under Solich’s leadership. 

Before Solich’s arrival in Athens for the 2005 season, bowl games were rare for the Bobcats (just 1962 and 1968) but starting in 2007, Ohio has played in one nearly every year. 

Solich’s new base salary per year is $589,928, up from $524,928 annually, according to a copy of his contract provided by the university. However, OU spokesperson Jim Sabin explained Thursday that Solich’s new base salary isn’t really a salary increase – it just reflects a “restructuring” of his pay.

“The revised annual base salary of $589,928 does not result in increased annual compensation overall; rather, two salary elements that previously were included as supplemental compensation (i.e. show/apparel bonus of $15,000 and retention bonus of $50,000) will now be calculated, and reported, within the base salary,” Sabin said.

With that taken into consideration, Solich’s base salary is now technically higher than OU’s previous top-earner, men’s basketball Head Coach Jeff Boals (who earns $581,000 per year in base salary). OU President Duane Nellis remains the OU employee with the third-highest base salary, earning $489,357 annually. Each of these three employees does receive other supplemental compensation bonuses, so it’s not clear how their total compensation numbers compare.

“This season, he (Solich) reached 112 overall victories while his 75 MAC wins rank second to former Central Michigan Head Coach Herb Deromedi’s 90,” the OU release said.

The football team has gone 75-45 in conference play since Solich’s arrival in Athens in 2005, the release added.

“Frank Solich is a future hall of fame coach with an impeccable national reputation. We are proud of the culture of athletic and academic success he and his staff have established at Ohio University, and we appreciate Frank’s deep commitment to our institution,” OU Athletic Director Julie Cromer said in the news release. “We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program.”

According to a copy of Solich’s new contract extension, Solich will earn a hefty bonus because of the team’s bowl win, about 10 percent of his base salary (around $59,000). Additionally, Solich gets compensated for the total number of wins in the ’Cats regular season above seven. With the football Bobcats going 7-6 this season, Solich receives a $5,000 bonus (he would get an additional $5,000 for each win above that, escalating to $10,000 for each win at 10 or above).

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