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Bruce stresses importance of team, discipline during local visit

Even at the age of 82, Earle Bruce has not lost an ounce of his fire and passion for the game of football.


Former Ohio State head football coach Earle Bruce speaks to a crowd assembled in the Bellefontaine High School cafeteria Saturday morning during a fundraising breakfast for the Chiefs' football program. EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND

Bruce, who was the head coach at Ohio State from 1979 to 1987, shared stories of his coaching days during a fundraising breakfast for the Bellefontaine High School football program Saturday morning at BHS.

“Football is the greatest game ever,” said Bruce during his speech. “It is the greatest team game there is.”

He focused on the key ingredients of success, stressing discipline and playing together as a team.

“If you are the toughest team on the field, you will win,” said Bruce. “Toughness always takes over in football.”

In speaking about the team concept, he told the story of the relationship he had with his best friend growing up. Bruce said the two did everything together. While he valued the time they spent, he said he should have more involved with the other members of his school and team.

“When you are on a team, you are in it together,” he said. “You need to have everyone together, not just a couple here and there. Do things in fives and tens, not twos.”

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Bruce also emphasized the importance of having confidence in yourself, both in football and in life.

“You have to be confident,” he said. “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t.”

The event, which raised nearly $10,000 for the football program and the general athletic fund, was conducted by the Bellefontaine Booster Club and the Fraternal Order of Eagles of Bellefontaine.

The local Eagles donated a check for $1,000 to the Alzheimer’s foundation Bruce works with.

BHS graduate and former Buckeye football player Howard Lambert was also recognized during the breakfast. He talked about going from a young boy in Bellefontaine dreaming of playing football at Ohio State to eventually becoming a walk-on for Woody Hayes, and then an eventual starter and scholarship player on the 1961 national championship team.

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