College football world mourns loss of Earle Bruce, ex-Ohio State coach

Earle Bruce Hall of Fame Ohio State coach dies at 87

"My mentor and friend, thank you for all you did for The Ohio State University, and all those players and coaches whose lives you made a difference in".

In a statement attributed to the four daughters of Earle Bruce, OSU confirmed Friday morning the passing of the former head football coach.

Bruce infamously took over for Woody Hayes when things went haywire after the Charlie Bauman incident against Clemson, and he almost pulled off a miracle season.

Born in Pittsburgh and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, Bruce had come to Ohio State in the fall of 1949 to play football. All Earle did was take a team, mold it, and get it to run off victory after victory during the regular season - including a come from behind 18-15 victory over MI - to finish the regular season unbeaten. Bruce never had a losing season at Ohio State, and led the Buckeyes to a bowl game in his first eight seasons with the program, where they went 5-3.

Still a pretty remarkable season no matter how you slice it.

In addition, Bruce won four Big Ten titles at Ohio State. He wasn't swallowed up in Hayes' shadow and forged his own identity while continuing to make the Buckeyes great during a successful nine-year run as head coach from 1979-87 that culminated with his election to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He tackled the job with characteristic energy and organization, despite some criticism from fans who constantly compared him to the sainted Hayes, who had been the Buckeyes' coach for 28 seasons. "A football loss? That's bad. You're only as good as your last game here". He worked for years as a radio analyst on Ohio State football and was well known for saying how he "bled scarlet and gray".

Bruce was preceded in death by his wife, Jean.

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