In a statement released from his daughters Friday morning, through Ohio State’s football department, Earle Bruce has died at the age of 87.
Statement from the Daughters of Coach Earle Bruce
April 20, 2018
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
Bruce was the head football coach at Massillon high school in 1964 and 65 and his teams not only won back-to-back State Titles, they didn’t lose a game in the two years he was in “Tiger Country”, making him the only undefeated, untied head football coach in Massillon High School history.
Bruce used his success at Massillon to get an assistant coaching job at Ohio State in 1966. He would go on to become the head coach at the University of Tampa in 1972 and then took the head job at Iowa St. from 1973-78 before taking over for Woody Hayes who was fired at Ohio State after the the 1978 season.
Bruce walked the sidelines at Ohio stadium as the Buckeyes head football coach from 1979-1987 compiling an 81-26-1 record, winning or sharing 4 Big Ten titles in his 9 years in Columbus. He also led the Buckeyes to a 5-3 record in Bowl games and finished 5-4 against arch rival Michigan.
Earle Bruce was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. He also received the rare honor for a non-band member of dotting the “i” in “Script Ohio” before an Ohio State home game in October 2016.
Bruce had been battling Alzheimer’s disease since being diagnosed in 2017.