Aug. 14, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce entered the College Football Hall of Fame Aug. 9, during the annual Enshrinement Festival in South Bend, Ind. Bruce, who now works for 610 WTVN radio in their coverage of Buckeye football, was honored by the College Football Hall of Fame during a ceremony held in New York City in December. Bruce is the fifth Buckeye coach to enter of the College Football Hall of Fame, which also has enshrined 18 former Ohio State players.
Bruce succeeded long-time coach Woody Hayes at Ohio State in 1979 and went on to compile an 81-26-1 record in nine seasons in Columbus. He led the Buckeyes to two outright Big Ten titles (1979, 1984) and two co-championships (1981, 1986) and was named the 1980 Big Ten Coach of the Year. Ohio State played in eight bowl games under Bruce. Current Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel was an assistant coach under Bruce at Ohio State from 1983-85.
A native of Cumberland, Md., Bruce began his coaching career while he was still a student at Ohio State. As a sophomore running back for the Buckeyes in 1951 under Hayes, Bruce suffered a torn meniscus in preseason drills and never played football again. Hayes, however, asked Bruce to join his coaching staff, where he remained until his graduation in 1953.
Bruce then coached high school football in Ohio for 12 seasons, including 10 as a head coach. He suffered defeat just 12 times and guided Massillon High School to consecutive undefeated seasons in 1964 and 1965 before rejoining Hayes’ staff at Ohio State in 1966. Bruce remained with the Buckeyes for five seasons, coaching the defensive backs his first year and the offensive line the next four seasons.
Bruce landed his first collegiate head coaching job at the University of Tampa in 1972, where he fashioned a 10-2 record, including a win in the Tangerine Bowl. He then took over at Iowa State University for six seasons, where he guided the Cyclones to eight wins in each of his last three seasons. Following his tenure in Columbus, Bruce coached at the University of Northern Iowa in 1988 before taking over the Colorado State University program from 1989-92. He led the Rams to their best season in school history, a 9-4 record that included a win in the Freedom Bowl, which marked the school’s first postseason appearance in 42 years.