March 8, 1931|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1953–1955||Mansfield HS (OH) (assistant)|
|1956–1959||Salem HS (OH)|
|1960–1963||Sandusky HS (OH)|
|1964–1965||Massillon Washington HS (OH)|
|1966–1971||Ohio State (assistant)|
|1995–1996||St. Louis Stampede|
|Head coaching record|
82–12–3 (high school)
|Accomplishments and honors|
|4 Big Ten (1979, 1981, 1984, 1986)|
AFCA Coach of the Year (1979)|
Big Ten Coach of the Year (1979)
College Football Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2002 (profile)
Earle Bruce (born March 8, 1931) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Tampa (1972), Iowa State University (1973–1978), Ohio State University (1979–1987), the University of Northern Iowa (1988), and Colorado State University (1989–1992), compiling a career college football record of 154–90–2. At Ohio State, Bruce was the successor to the legendary Woody Hayes, and won four Big Ten Conference titles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2002. Bruce returned to coaching in 2003 to helm the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League for a season and also guided the Columbus Destroyers the following year.
As a player and player/coach
Bruce was recruited as a fullback at the Ohio State University by head coach Wes Fesler. He played on the OSU freshman team in 1950, but before he could join the varsity team in 1951 he suffered a torn meniscus, ending his football career. Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes asked Bruce to join the coaching staff, which he did until his graduation in 1953. He was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity while attending Ohio State.
Bruce accumulated a collegiate coaching record of 154–90–2 with five different universities. Preceding that, Bruce was one of the most successful high school football coaches in Ohio history, accumulating a record of 82–12–3 in 10 seasons of head coaching positions with three Ohio high schools. He led four different college teams to bowl games, where he had a 7–5 record.
High school coaching
Upon graduating from Ohio State, Bruce accepted a position as an assistant coach at Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Ohio. In 1956, Bruce accepted his first head coaching position, at Salem High School in Salem, Ohio. Over the next four seasons, he led the Quakers to a record of 28–9. From 1960 until 1963, Bruce coached the Blue Streaks at Sandusky High School, Sandusky, Ohio. He compiled a record at Sandusky of 34–3–3.
Massillon High School then hired Bruce as head coach, where his teams went undefeated in 1964 and 1965. Though the Massillon Tigers have gained national fame for their football teams over the years, Bruce remains the only undefeated head football coach in Massillon High School history.
Hayes then hired Bruce back to Ohio State as a position coach for the offensive line and later defensive backs. After five seasons the University of Tampa brought Bruce on as head coach in 1972. During his first season, Tampa went 10–2, including a win in the Tangerine Bowl. Bruce moved into the head coaching position at Iowa State University following his success at Tampa. Iowa State experienced some success in six seasons with Bruce as head coach, including the second and third bowl appearances in school history. He is the only coach in modern times to leave Iowa State with a winning record. In 2000, Iowa State inducted Bruce into their school hall of fame, named the Louis Menze Hall of Fame.
After Woody Hayes was fired from Ohio State, Bruce was offered that head coaching position. Bruce coached Ohio State from 1979–1987. In Bruce's first year, Ohio State went undefeated in the regular season and played in the Rose Bowl, losing the game—and the national championship—by a single point.
The Buckeyes would win nine games in each of the next six years and won 10 games in 1986. However, they would only appear in one more Rose Bowl (after the 1984 season) and would only tally one more top ten finish (in 1986). This rankled a fan base used to contending for a national title every year. In 1987, Bruce was fired just prior to the last game of the season—against Michigan—but was allowed to finish out the year. Reportedly, school president Edward Harrington Jennings made the move out of pique over a last-second loss to Iowa that dropped the Buckeyes to 5-4-1, meaning they needed to beat Michigan in order to be bowl-eligible. Bruce was able to defeat Michigan at Ann Arbor. This is something Ohio State would not do again until 2001 under head coach Jim Tressel. After the game, Bo Schembechler told Bruce, "I always mind losing to Ohio State but I didn't mind so much today."
After Ohio State
Bruce was the leading candidate to replace Bob Valesente as head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks after the 1987 season, but due to a contract dispute, KU did not hire him. KU instead hired Glen Mason out of Kent State. Bruce took over the head coaching position at the University of Northern Iowa for one year, and then finished his intercollegiate coaching career at Colorado State University. In his second season, he led the Rams to a winning record and a victory over Oregon in the Freedom Bowl, their first bowl appearance since 1948 and their first bowl victory ever. He was fired two years later for, among other things, verbally and physically abusing his players and discouraging players from taking classes that conflicted with football practice.
In his final season at Fort Collins, he coached the Rams to a 17-14 victory over LSU in Baton Rouge. Five years earlier, his final Ohio State team played LSU to a 13-13 tie in Tiger Stadium in a nationally televised game.
Return to coaching and later life
In 2003, Bruce came out of retirement to coach the final ten games for the Arena Football League's Iowa Barnstormers, guiding them to a 7–3 record. In 2004, Bruce returned to Ohio to become the head coach for the Columbus Destroyers, who were moving from Buffalo to Columbus that year. He retired to a front office position after coaching the Destroyers to a 6–10 record in 2004, and was replaced as head coach by Chris Spielman, who played for Bruce at Ohio State. Bruce finished with a 19–25 record over four seasons in the AFL.
Today, Bruce works as an Ohio State football analyst for WTVN 610AM in Columbus as well as being an analyst for ONN on their OSU programming. On October 1, 2016, Bruce was honored during the Rutgers-Ohio State halftime and dotted the "i" during Script Ohio.
In his private life, Earle Bruce is married with four children and eight grandchildren. His daughters' names are Lynn, Mikky, Aimee, and Noel.
- Gary Blackney, Bowling Green
- Joe Bugel, Arizona Cardinals, Oakland Raiders
- Dom Capers, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans
- Pete Carroll, New York Jets, New England Patriots, USC, Seattle Seahawks
- Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
- Mike DeBord, Central Michigan
- Skip Holtz, Connecticut, East Carolina, Louisiana Tech, South Florida
- Glen Mason, Kansas, Minnesota
- Urban Meyer, Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, Ohio State
- Nick Saban, Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, Miami Dolphins, Alabama
- Jim Tressel, Ohio State
Head coaching record
|Tampa Spartans (Independent) (1972)|
|Iowa State Cyclones (Big Eight Conference) (1973–1978)|
|1977||Iowa State||8–4||5–2||T–2nd||L Peach|
|1978||Iowa State||8–4||4–3||T–3rd||L Hall of Fame Classic|
|Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten Conference) (1979–1987)|
|1979||Ohio State||11–1||8–0||1st||L Rose||4||4|
|1980||Ohio State||9–3||7–1||T–2nd||L Fiesta||15||15|
|1981||Ohio State||9–3||6–2||T–1st||W Liberty||12||15|
|1982||Ohio State||9–3||7–1||2nd||W Holiday||12||12|
|1983||Ohio State||9–3||6–3||4th||W Fiesta||8||9|
|1984||Ohio State||9–3||7–2||1st||L Rose||12||13|
|1985||Ohio State||9–3||5–3||T–4th||W Florida Citrus||11||14|
|1986||Ohio State||10–3||7–1||T–1st||W Cotton||6||7|
|Northern Iowa Panthers (Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1988)|
|Colorado State Rams (Western Athletic Conference) (1989–1992)|
|1990||Colorado State||9–4||6–1||2nd||W Freedom|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
| #Rankings from final Coaches Poll. |
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- "Massillon Tigers CyberRevue". Retrieved 2007-11-17.
- Park, Jack (2003). The Official Ohio State Football Encyclopedia: National Championship Edition. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1-58261-695-7.
- SalemHistoryMakers.com, accessed November 17, 2007. Archived January 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Greatest HS Football Rivalries, a documentary series produced by NFL Films. Summary at Versus' website. Accessed November 17, 2007
- "SPORTS PEOPLE: COLLEGE FOOTBALL; Colorado State Lists Charges Against Bruce". The New York Times. November 26, 1992. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
- "Earle Bruce to dot the "i" in Script Ohio on Saturday". 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
- Earle Bruce at the College Football Hall of Fame
- Earle Bruce at the College Football Data Warehouse
- Earle Bruce at the Internet Movie Database
|Columbus Destroyers Head Football Coach
| Succeeded by|