Ohio State Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Earle Bruce stepped into his dream job, football coach at Ohio State, under most challenging circumstances, replacing the program's revered longtime leader after a fall from grace.

Bruce embraced the task of following Woody Hayes, and went on to have his own Hall of Fame career. He never did quite match Hayes' record or status at Ohio State, but Bruce earned a special place of his own in Buckeyes football history as adored patriarch and sage and the mentor to the program's current coaching star.

Bruce died in Columbus at 87, according to a statement released by his daughters through Ohio State on Friday. He'd been suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

He had a record of 81-26-1 as Ohio State's coach from 1979-87. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Bruce was hired after the revered Hayes was fired for punching a Clemson player in the 1978 Gator Bowl. Even after being fired by Ohio State and moving on to other jobs, he never lost his passion for Ohio State football.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Bruce in 1986, and later worked for him at Colorado State.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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