Bruce was 5-4 against Michigan in his career and 5-3 in bowl games. He began his coaching career at Iowa State (1973-78) and coached four seasons at Colorado State (1989-92) after he was fired by Ohio State in 1988. His career record in 19 seasons was 139-82-2.
“I’m proud of about three things in my career,” Bruce said in 2001. “One is the Michigan record: 5-4. And the only games they won were because there wasn’t a fifth quarter. If there had been a fifth quarter, we would have kicked their butts. We just ran out of time, that’s how I look at it. And I went against Bo Schembechler, the best coach they ever had, no question.”
Bruce remained close to the program. In 2016, he dotted the “I’ in Script Ohio before a game against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. He attended Ohio State’s spring practice on March 8, the day he turned 87.
Meyer was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Bruce’s final two years with the program, and often credited Bruce for teaching him about the importance of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.
“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Meyer said in a press release. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife (Jean) and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”