Sport

Football Coach

Years Played

1979-86

Year Inducted

2002

Solomonson guided North Dakota State to back-to-back NCAA Division II national football championships in his only two seasons as the head coach of the Bison in 1985 and 1986. Named National Coach of the Year both seasons, he finished his career with a 24-2-1 career record. His .907 career winning percentage is the third highest in school history.

The Bison were 11-2-1 in 1985 but were just 2-2 after the first four games. NDSU responded with six wins and a tie in the final seven games of the regular season and woke up to a miraculous Sunday morning that saw NDSU vaulted into the national playoffs. Solomonson's crew made the most of the new life and ran through three playoff foes to claim its second national crown in three seasons.

Solomonson's second season at the helm (1986) went smoother as the Bison went wire-to-wire to post a perfect 13-0 mark, a second straight national crown, and the third in the last four seasons. The 1986 unit has been acknowledged as one of the top three teams in NCAA Division II history.

Solomonson was an assistant coach for the Bison for six seasons before being elevated to the top job in 1985. He was the defensive line coach for all six seasons and the defensive coordinator for the 1984 team that reached the national championship game.

All told, he was involved with the Bison over an eight-year span that produced a remarkable 81-17-1 record including three national crowns (1983, 1985 and 1986) and two national runner-up finishes (1981-84). Solomonson left the Bison program after the 1986 season and spent five years as the head coach at Montana State University.

A native of Minneapolis, he played football at Augsburg College in the late 1960s and was an assistant coach at Richfield (Minn.) High School before serving four seasons as the head coach at Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, Minn.

He has been in the insurance industry with Aid Association For Lutherans/Lutheran Brotherhood since 1992 and currently resides in Littleton, Colo.