Fact Checking Wikipedia on Bo / Bruce post game commentary

Submitted by will on September 27th, 2011 at 1:06 PM

So I recently rasterbated an image I found online of a Bo quote and put it on my cube wall.

Shortly thereafter one of my OSU homer coworkers sent me the following link:



This is an excerpt, which I would love someone to fact-check. If its true, thats fine - but  being as it has no reference, I'm very skeptical.


The War's aftermath: Schembechler vs. Earle Bruce (1979–87)

Earle Bruce took over for Hayes and led the Buckeyes to a 5–4 record against Schembechler's Wolverines between 1979 and 1987, perhaps the most balanced stretch of the storied rivalry, during which neither team won more than two consecutive games. In 1987, Bruce was fired in the week before the Michigan game due to a poor season record, but was allowed to coach anyway, and the inspired Buckeyes (each wearing a sweatband labeled "Earle") won an upset over the heavily favored Wolverines. After the game, Bo Schembechler told Bruce, "I always mind losing to Ohio State but I didn't mind so much today." After 1987, the series stood at 46–33–5 in favor of UM.



September 27th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

I have the book.  I just checked and I don't see that quote anywhere in there.  There's a brief introduction about Bo and Woody and there's a 2 page epilogue about both coaches post Ten Year War. All it said about Bo was that he went on to win 5 more Big Ten championships and then retired in 1989.  The rest of the book is about the games from 1969 to 1978.

I don't EVER remember hearing that quote from Bo.  This is not to say he didn't say it.  But from the countless books, articles and documentaries I've read/seen over the years, this is the first I've ever heard of it. 

We shouldn't have lost to OSU in 87.  They were a bad team.  But players step up at times for their coach.  Hopefully that won't happen with Minnesota this weekend. 


September 27th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Bo probably thought Earle was getting jobbed so you could see Bo saying something to that effect.  From all the stories Bo was pretty black and white so if he felt you were being wronged he'd be on your side.  

Blue Durham

September 27th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

I was a grad student and my brother was an undergrad at OSU.  I went down for the game in 1986, and he came up for this game.  Both of our parents came out for both games.

My brother stayed with me in my appartment, my parents stayed in the only hotel I could find rooms, in Plymouth.  When I drove out to pick them up that morning, there was a line of about 6 Ohio State buses were directly out front of the hotel’s main lobby.  Several OSU cheerleaders were milling about outside, with more (with some that seemed from the band) inside when we entered.  Since my mother was not yet ready to go, my father, brother and I waited for her in the lobby.  While there, we saw ex-OSU AD Rick Bay (he resigned in protest right after OSU's president, Jennings fired Bruce) giving a TV interview to be aired later on in the day.

After a few minutes, we saw Earle Bruce and his entire staff walking down the opposite hall towards the lobby.   Their mood and expressions were clearly glum.  As the head coach walked towards the main exit, a middle-aged woman in tears approached, and they embraced.  I couldn’t watch, but couldn’t look away either.  The coach then hugged and kissed his two teen-aged daughters, and left for the buses with the rest of his staff.  Outside, cheerleaders, band members and players, arriving from other hotel exits, were assembling and boarding their ride to Michigan Stadium.  Moved by all of this, I turned to Gary and said "You know, there is nothing on the line for Michigan in this game.  For the first time, it wouldn't bother me too much if Ohio State wins the game."

It was a really cold day, probably the coldest I've ever attended.  It was sooo cold that we had to leave at halftime (my parents, in their 60's, were absolutely miserable).  Michigan was leading 13-7, but lost 23-20.

Earle Bruce’s record against Michigan was 5-4, and his record 81-26-1 (.755), better than any other Big Ten coach during that period.  Nationally, only Nebraska, BYU, Oklahoma Penn State and Georgia had a better winning percentage than Bruce.  But ultimately, it wasn’t good enough.  They wanted a coach that could beat Michigan with regularity, and challenge for the national championship. 

Ohio State officials said Arizona State's 22-15 victory over Michigan in the 1986 Rose Bowl was a key factor in their decision to hire Cooper.  With a very good record thus far (82-40-1 combined at Tulsa and Arizona State), Cooper had the appearance of a good hire.

Although John Cooper had a very respectable record at Ohio State of 111-43-4 (a .715 winning percentage) during his tenure from 1988-2001, he was only 2-8-1 against Michigan and 3-8 in bowls.  If Earle Bruce failed to live up to Woody Hayes, John Cooper failed to live up to Earle Bruce.



September 27th, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

Unless I missed it or everyone knows, Rick Bay is a Michigan Man, top collegiate wrestler, has had a distinguished career as an AD and graduated from Michigan in 1965.  I have always been proud of his resigning in protest to Bruce's firing.



September 27th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

I was a sophomore that year and watched Carlos Snow make Michigan's D look like the Sisters of Charity in the second half (maybe he did, and maybe he didn't in all honesty, but while much of my sophomore year is a blur, he still stands out).

After the game, my friends and I said the same thing that Bo and the rest of the U-M crowd said, "I don't mind too much." I think we may have actually cheered for Earle when he was introduced, and at the end of the game.

The firing of Earle Bruce was the single act that made my mother, a dyed-in-the-wool Buckeye fan from childhood, stop cheering for Ohio once and forever. Not even her oldest son (me) attending That School Up North had dissuaded her from her love of the Scarlet and Gray.

Earle Bruce was and is a Class Act in every respect. When Bo died, tears visibly in his eyes, he led a room full of Buckeye faithful in a moment of silence during a pre-game dinner for the well-heeled in Columbus.

While I believe Jim Tressel is and always will be a phony, Earle Bruce has my eternal respect.


September 27th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

I can say from first hand experience that earle bruce claims it to be true. I played golf with him about 10years ago and when he learned i was a michigan graduate he told the story...almost exactly as its been recorded here.