Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio — Woodward native Tim Albin, who led alma mater Northwestern Oklahoma State University to its only NAIA National Championship and undefeated season in 1999 has accepted the head coaching position for Ohio University.

Albin, who had been offensive coordinator for the Ohio University Bobcats, takes the reins from coach Frank Solich, who is retiring after leading the program through 16 seasons of unprecedented success to “focus on his health,” the school said Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

The school announced Solich was stepping down less than two months before the start of the season and his 77th birthday.

Albin received a four-year contract, Ohio athletic director Julie Cromer said in a statement. He and his wife, Brooke, have a daughter, Tori, and a son, Treyce, according to his Wikipedia page.

“I am forever indebted to Coach Solich for all that he has offered me and taught me through the years, and I know he will always be part of our program,” Albin said.

Albin joined the Ohio football coaching staff as offensive coordinator in 2005, reuniting with Solich after four seasons together at Nebraska. The 2021 season will mark Albin's 17th year in Athens.

Since his arrival, Albin has produced offensive units that have consistently ranked among the top of the Mid-American Conference. He also has directed an offensive attack that has practically rewritten all of Ohio's rushing, passing records, and scoring records.

In the past 10 seasons, Albin's offensive units rank No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 on the Ohio all-time Top-10 single season scoring list. The Bobcats 368 points in 2018 rank fourth on the all-time list. 

"We are so fortunate to have someone with Tim's experience, character and vision already within our program," Cromer said. "There are few situations where a transition can be as seamless as this one. Tim has been an integral part of the sustained success of Ohio football, and with his leadership we expect to maintain our competitive pursuit of MAC championships, even as he establishes his own imprint on the program. We are excited for Tim to lead our football program."

Albin spent the 2004 season as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at North Dakota State, helping the Bison to an 8-3 record and No. 25 national ranking in their first season at the Division I-AA level. NDSU finished the season averaging 378.5 yards of total offense, including 192.4 on the ground, and had four offensive players named first-team All-Great West Football Conference. Albin served with Solich at Nebraska from 2000 to 2003.

He started with the Cornhusker program as a graduate assistant, a position he held for three seasons before being promoted to running backs coach and passing game coordinator for the 2003 season.

Prior to his stint at Nebraska, Albin was the head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State for three seasons, winning the NAIA national championship in 1999 with a 13-0 record. He was named NAIA Football Coach of the Year by Rawlings and American Football Coach Magazine as the Rangers recorded their first and only undefeated season in history.

Albin played wide receiver for NWOSU from 1985-88, while completing his degree in business administration. He earned first-team All-Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference honors and was the first player in school history to be named All-District IX three times.

He joined the coaching staff at Northeastern Oklahoma State as a graduate assistant from 1989-91, while completing a master's of science degree, and was promoted to offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for two years before returning to Northwestern to serve in the same capacity until taking over as head coach in 1997.

Albin's teams improved every year, with a 5–5 record in 1997, 7-3 in 1998 and 13-0 in 1999.

Despite trailing in the NAIA championship 20-0 at the half, Northwestern put up 34 unanswered points to come from behind and take the win over Georgetown College (Ga.) on December 18, 1999, at Jim Carroll Stadium in Savannah, Tenn.

Six players from the squad earned NAIA All-American honors, according to NWOSU. The team was ranked first in the nation in rushing offense, with 325.6 yards per game, and second in defense (219.0 yds./game) and rushing defense (37.5 yds./game).

Albin was named the NAIA Coach of the Year that year by Rawlings and American Football Coach Magazine.

"It is truly an honor to lead the Ohio University football program and I want to express my gratitude to President Sherman and Director of Athletics Julie Cromer for their belief in me," said Albin. "I am forever indebted to Coach Solich for all that he has offered me and taught me through the years, and I know he will always be part of our program.

"Our team will provide an unmatched student-athlete experience both on and off the field and we will graduate young men prepared to succeed in life.  With the help of our incredible staff I know great things lie ahead, and our work continues."

Solich is the winningest head coach in the history of the Mid-American Conference with 115 victories. Including a stint as coach at Nebraska, his alma mater, Solich is 173-101 as a major college football head coach.

Under Solich, Ohio went to 11 bowl games after going to only two before he arrived. All five of the Bobcats' bowl victories came during his tenure.

“We are so grateful for all that Coach Solich has given Ohio University, and especially, to our football program,” Cromer said.

Ohio won division titles and reached the MAC championship game four times under Solich. The Bobcats never did break through and win it all under Solich. Ohio last won the MAC in 1968. But the program never won more consistently than it did under the Cleveland native who played fullback at Nebraska.

Solich's first head coaching job was at Nebraska, where he replaced Hall of Famer Tom Osborne in 1998. Solich went 58-19 with the Cornhuskers, but following Osborne's long stretch of lofty achievements, that wasn't good enough.

He was fired after going 9-3 in the 2003 regular season. Nebraska's last conference championship remains the Big 12 title it won in 1999 under Solich.

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News & Eagle staff and Associated Press combined for this report.

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