Dave Sollazzo


Position: Defensive Linemen

A veteran collegiate coach with 35 years of experience, Dave Sollazzo joined the UMass football program as the assistant head coach and the leader of the defensive line in 2012. Of his extensive coaching career, 13 of those seasons were spent at Maryland where he helped the Terps reach eight bowl games. In his first year with the Minutemen, Sollazzo tutored five linemen who set single-season career-best marks for tackles and TFLs along with a trio who earned personal bests for sacks. In 2013, Sollazzo's defensive line unit again showed great progress as the group accounted for 8.5 of the Minutemen's 12 total sacks on the year. Justin Anderson led the way with four as part of a 57 tackle season that included 7.5 TFLs. Following the season, Galen Clemons who spent two seasons with Sollazzo was invited to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie mini-camp in May. Sollazzo moved to 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 and 56 all-state selections. During his career 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. 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 Maryland, 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. Maryland won the ACC that year, played in the 2001 Fed-Ex Orange Bowl against Florida and was ranked 11th nationally in the final coaches poll of the season. 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 and 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, the head coach for the Terps from 2001-10. 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 working at Maryland in 1984 as a graduate assistant (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. He then returned to Maryland for the 1986 and 1987 campaigns as a volunteer assistant coach before moving on to Guilford and then The Citadel. Sollazzo was born in Harrison, N.Y., on Christmas Eve, 1955, and earned his degree from The Citadel in 1977. In 2012 he was inducted into the Harrison High School Hall of Fame.

Coaching Career

  • Maryland (1984-1987)
  • Guilford College (1988)
  • The Citadel (1989-1998)
  • Georgia Tech (1999-2000)
  • Maryland (2001-2010)
  • Villanova (2011)
  • Massachusetts (2012-2016)
  • Naugatuck High School (2017-2020)

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