Friday, December 5, 2003
Former Husker coach felt it was too soon
ESPN.com news services
West Point is a far cry from Lincoln, Neb. Too far, it seems, for Frank Solich.
ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel reported Friday that Solich, the former head coach at Nebraska who was fired last week, has decided not to accept the head-coaching job at Army.
Sources told Maisel that Solich was offered the job and sounded as though he would take it, but decided ultimately Thursday night that it was too soon after leaving Nebraska and that he didn't know enough about recruiting at West Point.
Earlier Friday, The Times Herald-Record of Middletown (N.Y.) reported that Solich could be named as Army's next coach as early as Friday afternoon and that preparations had been made at West Point to announce the hiring.
Solich was fired by Nebraska last week after leading the Cornhuskers to a 58-19 record over six seasons. He was 9-3 this season when he was let go.
Army is 0-12, and has won just eight games since the start of the 1999 season. If Army loses to Navy on Saturday, it will become the first Division I team ever to finish a season 0-13.
Lt. Gen. William Lennox, superintendant of Army, reportedly has hungered for a coach with name recognition. Solich led Nebraska to the national title game in 2001, losing to Miami 37-14 in the Rose Bowl. Solich took over for the legendary Tom Osborne six years ago.
Incidentally, Osborne is on the advisory panel that Lennox put together last year to evaluate the struggling program, the newspaper reported.
Two possible leading candidates for the Army post -- Division I-AA Western Illinois coach Don Patterson, a 1973 West Point graduate, and Maryland offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe -- have not been contacted, according to the paper.