Football coaches are invited to join the UMass coaching staff for this great weekend.
Head coach Charley Molnar invites coaching staffs to attend this three day event
A veteran collegiate coach with 34 years of experience, Dave Sollazzo joins Charley Molnar's staff as the assistant head coach and defensive line coach. Of his extensive coaching career, 13 of those were spent at Maryland where he helped the Terps reach eight bowl games.
Sollazzo joins UMass after spending the 2011 season coaching the defensive line at former CAA rival Villanova where the Wildcats led the conference in rushing defense.
Prior to that, he spent 10 seasons at the University of Maryland as the defensive line coach and served as the Terrapin recruiting coordinator for his final five years in College Park. During his last four years at Maryland, the Terps signed 72 student-athletes ranked among the top 100 nationally at their positions, including 17 All-Americans.
Sollazzo spent two seasons (1999-00) as the defensive tackles coach at Georgia Tech helping the Yellow Jackets to the 1999 Gator Bowl and the 2000 Peach Bowl. Before arriving at Georgia Tech, Sollazzo was the defensive line coach at his alma mater, The Citadel, from 1989-98. As a player, Sollazzo was a defensive lineman at The Citadel from 1973-76.
Between his coaching and recruiting at Maryland, Sollazzo helped several individual players achieve at the highest levels.
In 2010, he guided defensive lineman Joe Vellano to second team All-ACC honors and helped the Terps to the second biggest turn around in the country going from 2-10 in 2009 to 9-4 in 2010. Maryland closed out the 2010 campaign with a victory over East Carolina in the Military Bowl.
Over his last three seasons in College Park, the Terps signed 72 student-athletes ranked among the 100 nationally at their positions, including 17 All-Americans. In addtion, 56 of the 88 signees received all-state recognition during their careers.
The 2009 recruiting class was ranked No. 26 nationally by Rivals.com (highest since 2005) and 27th by Scout.com.
On the field Sollazzo groomed a number of players for the next level. Jeremy Navarre, a four-year starter, earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2008 en route to signing with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars where he earned extensive playing time.
Dean Muhtadi, a significant contributor in 2007 and 2008, also moved onto the NFL, where he spent time with Green Bay and Arizona.
In 2007, the defensive line was led by Dre Moore who secured first-team All-ACC honors and went on to be selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2006, Moore anchored the line along with Conrad Bolston, who played parts of two seasons in the NFL.
In 2004, the Terrapin defense ranked 21st nationally, giving up an average of 315.3 yards per game. Though it had lost standout DT Randy Starks a year early (selected by the Tennessee Titans in the 2004 NFL Draft), the defensive line still performed well, helping the team to top 25 rankings in three categories.
In 2003, the Terps were first in the league in total defense (15th nationally) and pass defense while finishing third in rushing defense. They recorded 35 sacks, just one fewer than league leader Florida State, and Starks became just the second Maryland tackle in 15 years to earn first team all-conference honors.
Maryland finished second in the ACC in 2002 in total defense while holding its opponents to 57 yards below their season rushing averages coming into their respective games with the Terrapins. In addition, the Terps finished atop the league and seventh nationally in scoring defense, yielding just 16.3 points per game. Individually, Starks earned second-team All-ACC honors in just his second season.
In his first year back at UM, Sollazzo took a group that entered the season as a concern in terms of talent and depth, and turned it into a rock-solid unit that helped anchor one of the top defenses in the ACC as the team led the league in rushing and scoring defense. Under his tutelage, nose tackle Charles Hill became an honorable mention All-ACC pick and, ultimately, a third-round choice of the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Prior to his stint at Maryland, Sollazzo spent two seasons (1999-00) at Georgia Tech as a defensive tackles coach helping the Yellow Jackets reach bowl games each year (1999 Gator Bowl / 2000 Peach Bowl).
Before joining the Yellow Jackets, Sollazzo was the defensive line coach at The Citadel from 1989-98. The Citadel was another homecoming for Sollazzo, as he had lettered for the Bulldogs for three years on the defensive line from 1974-76. In that time, he started 33 consecutive games under former Maryland coach Bobby Ross. His position coach was Ralph Friedgen.
As a coach at The Citadel, Sollazzo helped Brad Keeney achieve All-America honors and Southern Conference-leading totals in sacks and tackles for loss in 1995.
In addition, he coached nine other defensive linemen to all-conference honors while with the Bulldogs. The highlight of his coaching career in Charleston, S.C., however, may have been his involvement in helping The Citadel to the 1992 Southern Conference championship and a No. 1 ranking at the end of the regular season. That squad led the nation in points allowed (13 ppg) and finished sixth in pass efficiency defense. In 1997, he was a part of an impressive defensive effort in which the Bulldogs finished their season by not allowing a touchdown over the final 13 quarters.
Along with his ties to Maryland and The Citadel, Sollazzo has an extensive history in prep coaching. With the exception of the Maryland job in 1984 (a season that saw the Terps win the ACC and earn a berth in the Sun Bowl), Sollazzo was a high school defensive coordinator in South Carolina from 1978-85.
Sollazzo was born in the same hometown as Friedgen, Harrison, N.Y., on Christmas Eve, 1955, and earned his degree from The Citadel in 1977. He and his wife, Ellen, have a son, Christopher.
Guilford (N.C.) College
Stratford (S.C.) High School
North Charleston (S.C.) High School
Fort Johnson (S.C.) High School