Terry Donahue, who became the face of football at UCLA as a player and coach, held the position for 20 years and led the school to seven consecutive Bowl-winning seasons in the 1980s, at Newport Beach on Sunday. Died at his home, Calif. He was 77 years old.
The cause was cancer, UCLA said.
Donahue won more games than any other coach in school and Pac-12 Conference history, and he ended his career with a winning record against every team in the conference, including Bruins’ crosstown rival, the University of Southern California Trojans. .
Overall, he won 151 of the 233 games he coached, and 98 of those victories were in the Pac-10 (as it was known before the conference). Linking the two teams in 2011) His eighth and final victory in a bowl came at the 1991 John Hancock Bowl.
Donahue’s streak of Bowl wins included Rose Bowl victories in ’83, ’84 and ’86. He was the first to appear in the Rose Bowl as a player, an assistant coach, and a coach.
On the field, Donahue played in UCLA’s first Rose Bowl victory in 1966. The team earned the nickname “Gutty Little Bruins” because no one on the defensive line weighed more than 225 pounds. Donahue, a walk-on, weighed just 195 pounds.
He brought that same overwhelming spirit into his tenure as coach. Some of UCLA’s best players in the Donahue era, such as future Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, came from regions far away from California. Famed quarterback Troy Ekman transferred to UCLA from another college football program.
in one Article Last year on how Donahue’s successors didn’t measure up to the standard they set, The Los Angeles Times attributed Donahue’s success to being a “leader in national recruitment”, a scout “scouring the country for talent”. NFL teams pick 14 players from the Donahue era in the first round of the professional draft.
a 2011. In interview With the Los Angeles Times, he discussed the level of commitment required to find and woo the young quarterback. “You need money, access to a plane if possible,” he said. “I went and got players from Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Texas, Oregon.”
A news conference where Donahue announced his retirement in 1995 became a farce. The Los Angeles Times said a UCLA spokesperson would produce two news releases in case Donahue changes his mind. As he began to explain his decision, hundreds of journalists and friends “bounced forward in an instant,” The Times reported.
“I can’t believe I’m having this press conference,” Donahue said. “What are you all doing here?”
But he retired. Twenty-five years later, The Times Write That the UCLA football program had been “tormented” since Donahue’s departure.
Terence Michael Donahue was born on June 24, 1944, in Los Angeles to Betty (Gentner) Donahue and Bill Donahue, a physician.
He was a starting linebacker at his high school in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, but he struggled to establish himself in college, gaining a tryout at UCLA in 1964 with one at San Jose State and Los Angeles Valley College. failed to secure a stable position. He was taken on as a reserve lineman and worked his way up to the start.
“Terry didn’t have a lot of potential, but he had a lot of character, high intelligence, and rarely made mistakes,” said former UCLA Line coach Jerry Long.
Donahue graduated from UCLA in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He also earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from the university in 1977.
He got his start as a coach from a former mentor, Pepper Rodgers, asking him to take on the University of Kansas Jayhawks as an unpaid assistant. When Rodgers became head coach at UCLA, Donahue followed suit. Rodgers’ successor, Dick Vermeel, left in 1976 to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, and Donahue took over, even though he was in his early 30s.
After leaving UCLA, he worked in the front office of the San Francisco 49ers from 1999 to 2005.
Donahue’s survivors include his wife of 52 years, Andrea (Sogas) Donahue; three daughters, Nicole, Michelle and Jennifer; and 10 grandchildren.
In 1976, Donahue’s first season at UCLA coaching, the Bruins, went 9-2-1. An article in Sports Illustrated said He “could be the best youth coach in the country.” Donahue, known for being relaxed and well-tanned, was asked if he ever felt nervous.
“We are prepared and we have worked hard, so there is nothing to worry about,” he told Sports Illustrated. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going upstairs.”