Former Texas coach empathizes with Solich

Updated: August 22, 2003, 12:08 PM ET

LINCOLN, Neb. -- As a man who followed a coaching icon, Fred Akers knows what Frank Solich is going through.

Akers succeeded Darrell Royal at Texas in 1977. Solich took over for Tom Osborne at Nebraska in 1998.

Royal, like Osborne, had coached his team to three national titles. Royal never had a losing season in his 20 years; Osborne didn't in 25 years.

Akers went 66-17-1 through his first seven seasons, but then had back-to-back four-loss campaigns before a 5-6 season in 1986 led to his removal.

Solich went 42-7 before the current 7-9 stretch started at the end of his fourth season.

"Whether he likes it or not, he's now under pressure," said Akers, now 65 and running a management consulting firm in Austin. "I can tell you from experience that if there had been a buffer between him and Tom, he'd be better off."

Though Solich said he ignores speculation about his future, Akers said the Nebraska coach must feel the heat.

"All of us are human," Akers said. "Frank doesn't need outside authorities to point out to him that 7-7 is below standard."

Solich was a popular choice to succeed Osborne because Osborne hand-picked him.

Akers, a former Longhorn assistant who was head coach at Wyoming, returned to Texas by choice of the university administration. Royal had endorsed assistant Mike Campbell.

Akers said Solich benefits from a unified fan base at Nebraska.

"In my case, there were all sorts of factions at work, and a lot of people wanted me to lose," Akers said. "Frank is fortunate because support isn't splintered there."

Akers noted that Osborne wasn't overly popular after first succeeding Bob Devaney, who won national titles in two of his last three years. Osborne saw Oklahoma foil Nebraska five straight years before beating the Sooners in 1978.

That was the same year Osborne pondered a move to Colorado, in part, because of fan discontent.

"Tom was given time and proved he could win," Akers said. "I hope Frank will enjoy some of that cool-headed response."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index