Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

College Football Coach Followed Woody Hayes at Ohio State March 8, 1931 - April 20, 2018

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

College Football Coach Followed Woody Hayes at Ohio State March 8, 1931 - April 20, 2018

Article excerpt

Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce died Friday at his home in Powell, Ohio, after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to a statement from his daughters that was distributed by the university.

He was 87.

The statement reads: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, Coach Earle Bruce, early this morning, Friday, April 20. He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many. Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes.

"His loving daughters: Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel"

A native of Cumberland, Md., Mr. Bruce arrived at Ohio State as a player in 1949 before a knee injury cut short his career. Building a bond with legendary coach Woody Hayes, Mr. Bruce served on Mr. Hayes' staff as an assistant coach from 1966-71, then succeeded him as head coach from 1979-87.

He was 81-26-1 at OSU and won four Big Ten championships in his nine seasons before his controversial firing - under pressure from university officials, athletic director Rick Bay resigned rather than fire Mr. Bruce - when the team had a 5-4-1 record in 1987. Wearing headbands emblazoned with the coach's first name, Ohio State went on to upset Michigan that year in Mr. Bruce's final game.

On that staff was a graduate assistant named Urban Meyer, who now is Ohio State's head coach. Mr. Bruce was the first person to extend a coaching position to Mr. Meyer, who rose through the coaching ranks and eventually won two national championships at Florida and the 2014 title at Ohio State.

Mr. Bruce was a mentor to Mr. Meyer, who made it a point to keep Mr. Bruce involved with the Buckeyes after he was hired in December 2011.

"I've made it clear many times that, other than my father, coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life," Mr. Meyer said in a news release. "Every significant decision I've made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. …

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