Honoring Earle

Eric Lyttle

In honor of Earle Bruce joining a very select group of non-TBDBITL members to dot the "i" in the iconic gameday performance of Script Ohio last week before the Rutgers game, we present this Flashback Friday to our January, 1988 cover story, titled "The Week the Town Went Crazy."

Written by then-staff writer and now-publisher, Ray Paprocki, the story details what could arguably be the greatest moment in Earle Bruce's long coaching history-his firing. While Columbus had perhaps grown weary of the annual 9-3 records put up by Earle's teams, he was one of ours-his spit-flying intensity, his Earleisms during interviews. He was a descendent of Woody Hayes, the patron saint of Buckeyes football.

When then-president Ed Jennings fired Earle ingloriously during the week of the Michigan game, the town and the team rallied around the short, pudgy coach. The team wore white headbands to the game, with "Earle" written on them, in protest. Earle showed up looking like a little Al Capone in his black top hat.

To cap it all off, the Buckeyes mounted a furious second-half comeback to beat Michigan, in Ann Arbor, 23-20, with Earle being carried off the field, his fists pumping-just the same way they were pumping as he walked off the field after dotting the "i" last week. The intensity still burns.

Read "The Week the Town Went Crazy" here.

Photo by Eric Albrecht