COLUMBUS (WCMH) — About 400 fans, coaches, and former players filled St. John Arena on Wednesday to remember legendary Ohio State Football coach Earle Bruce.
Bruce turned 87 years old on March 8. He watched the Buckeyes go through spring practice that day. It would be his last view of his beloved football program.
On Wednesday, friends and supporters gathered at Ohio State to remember a fiery leader, a man always up for a good debate, and an unmatched presence in Ohio State history.
“Heaven just got a little more intense recently,” said current Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer. “I stand very humbled and appreciative that God chose Earle Bruce and my father to serve as my mentors and guide and teach me along this incredible journey. (There) will never be a day that I’m not grateful and appreciative to the Bruce family for allowing me to be a part of your family for the past 32 years.”
Bruce won 154 football games as a college coach, 81 of them at OSU. Even after his coaching days, his successors felt Earle’s presence.
” I was an assistant coach for three years but I was the head coach here for 10 years,” said former coach Jim Tressel. “But, he was in the building so really I was an assistant coach for Earle for 10 more years.”
Football and family often collided in the Bruce family and still does to this day.
His grandson, Zach Smith, coaches the receivers at Ohio State.
“Although my grandfather is gone now, no longer present on earth, I’ll tell you two things,” Smith said. “He is ever-present reciting over us in heaven with my amazing grandmother. You work hard, love your players hard. and hate no one except Michigan. Go Bucks.”