WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Frank Solich learned first hand about today's win at all costs adopted by university administrators.
Solich was 9-3 this season as football coach at Nebraska. On Sunday, he was fired, that after word was that he would be asked to retire after last week's season-ending contest against Colorado, which the Cornhuskers won, 31-22.
It appears his downfall can be traced not to the nine wins but to the losses. Nebraska was beaten by Missouri (41-24), Texas (31-7), and Kansas State (38-9), all of whom were considered gimmes on the Cornhuskers' schedule ion the past. What may be an even bigger problem is that diehard NU fans and administrators appear to not believe that the days of lopsided victories over those schools has come to an end.
In six years at the helm, Solich went 58-19, a winning percentage of 75.3, and shared the national championship in three of the last four years. During the same stretch, Texas was 59-17, and the Huskers' chief rival, Oklahoma, was 60-15. His teams were called "mediocre" by Athletic Director Steve Pederson, who fired him this week.
"I'm certain with nine wins there will be questions," said Pederson. "but this is not a decision that was determined by wins and losses. It was a decision based on the overall direction of our program and where our program is headed in the next five years. I refuse to let the program gravitate to mediocrity. We're not going to relinquish the Big 12 Conference title to Oklahoma and Texas."
The Cornhuskers finished just 7-7 last year, their first non-winning season since 1961. After losing to Mississippi in the Independence Bowl, Solich fired several assistant coaches.
Also, Nebraska lost nine of its last 13 road games under Solich, who had been associated with the school since 1962, first as a student and later as an assistant coach.
Attendance remains stable, but fan support eroded, and most of them went to home games to voice their displeasure.
One of his detractors was not rival coach Bob Stoops of Oklahoma.
"I'm not one to sit here and criticize any administration," Stoops said Monday during the weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "You know me. I try and keep my comments reserved to what pertains to our program. I will say ... that I've always respected him. I've felt his teams were always well prepared, and always respected in a great way their character and the way they went about their business. It's unfortunate, I guess, the world we live in now, that it's hard to satisfy everybody."
A major booster, David Sokol, did not like the way Solich was ousted.
"In my professional career, I've never seen a personnel issue handled more poorly than the way this is being handled by the athletic department in Lincoln," Sokol told the Omaha World-Herald.
A number of other coaches have been canned this year, a number of them before the season ended, including Carl Franks at Duke and Mike Kruczek at Central Florida. For Solich, problem is football is THE moneymaker at Nebraska and people don't seem to care about the means used to get a coach who keeps the school in the national championship picture every year as long as it happens. Because coaches have such big egos, it likely will not be a problem in finding a successor at a place where legends like Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne once roamed the sidelines.