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Earle Bruce, Hall of Fame Ohio State coach, dies at 87

Earle Bruce, Hall of Fame Ohio State coach, dies at 87

BC-FBC-Obit-Earle Bruce, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 908Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce dies at 87AP Photo NY156, NY157, NY160, NY158, NY159, NY155, OHCOL205, OHCOL206, NY154, OHCOL204, OHCOL203, OHCOL205Eds: Updates with Spielman quotes, background on 1979 season.

Earle Bruce, who followed the legendary Woody Hayes as coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, died early Friday at the age of 87. He had been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease in August 2017.

Bruce also coached the Iowa Barnstormers for a brief time in 2001.

When the fiery Bruce was done after nine seasons roaming the sideline at Ohio State, he had compiled an 81-26-1 overall mark along with a sterling 57-17 Big Ten record and two Rose Bowl appearances.

A native of Cumberland, Md., Bruce began his coaching career while he was still a student at Ohio State.




MI head coach Jim Harbaugh put the rivalry aside and posted a heartfelt message for the Bruce family in the wake of Earle Bruce's passing.

After six years on Hayes' staff, Bruce became a head coach.

Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, whose first college job was as a graduate assistant under Bruce during the 1986 and 1987 seasons, praised his former boss in a Twitter post. He guided Massillon to consecutive 10-0, undefeated seasons in 1964 and 1965 before rejoining Hayes' staff at Ohio State in 1966. Not with Bruce's grandson Zach Smith coaching receivers, or running backs coach Tony Alford having played under Bruce in college, or staffer Tim Hinton having cut his teeth on his staff in the 1980s. The College Football Hall of Fame member was 87.

Over the course of his career, Bruce hired four assistants in Meyer, Jim Tressel, Nick Saban and Pete Carroll who would go on to win national championships. He recorded a 36-32 record at Iowa State between 1973-1978, which included three eight-win seasons in a row and two notable victories against rival Nebraska.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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