Former ISU and UNI Football Coach Earle Bruce Dies at 87

Apr 20, 2018

A football coach who led the Iowa State Cyclones, the UNI Panthers and the Arena League’s Iowa Barnstormers has died.

Former Iowa State and UNI head football coach Earle Bruce
Credit Iowa State University

Earle Bruce is generally regarded as the coach who revitalized the Cyclone football program in the mid-1970s. 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.

He left Ames to become head coach at his alma mater, Ohio State. After nine years there, he was fired and surprised many by taking the job at the University of Northern Iowa. He stayed just one year, but later returned to Iowa to coach the Barnstormers in Des Moines.

Bruce was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2017. His family reported his death Friday. Earle Bruce was 87 years old.