At 84, Coach Earle Bruce and his daughter, Lynn, remain committed to raising funds for Alzheimer’s research.
Ask an 84-year-old Earle Bruce about football and he sits up a little straighter, his voice grows louder and his eyes burn with the same fire they had when he roamed the Ohio State sidelines as head coach from 1979 to 1987.

Not surprisingly, Bruce has the same response when he’s asked about Alzheimer’s, a cognitive disease that has hit his family hard. It’s why he has devoted the remainder of his life to helping find a cure through philanthropy.

Their Story

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Some might find it illogical to give back to the university that fired you.

But Bruce, who still lives in Columbus, has always considered himself a member of Buckeye Nation. He believes in his alma mater’s research prowess, and if the money he raises can help ensure other families can avoid watching loved ones deteriorate, then it is effort well spent.

Alzheimer’s missed the four boys in the Bruce family, but both girls were affected. It struck Bruce’s younger sister, Bev, in her prime. 

“It’s not memory so much, but it’s when you go out to your car and you go to go home, and you don’t make it. You don’t know where to go,” recalls Earle. 

That happened to Bruce’s father, Earle Sr., and Bruce had to go pick him up in town after his mother became frantic. His dad was the first in the family to experience Alzheimer’s, but for a long time, Bruce was oblivious to his condition. 

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“My mom knew he had it, and she used to say, when I walked in the door, to Dad, ‘This is your son, Earle.’ ‘He knows me, Mom,’ I would say.

Well, he didn’t know me. She was helping him all the time.”

To beat the disease, Bruce and his late wife, Jean, started two events to raise money for the Earle and Jean Bruce Alzheimer’s Research Fund in Neurology at Ohio State. Both draw great support from the folks in Bruce’s athletic history.

Every year, current coach Urban Meyer speaks at the always-sold-out Beat Michigan Tailgate. Buckeye greats such as Keith Byars come back for the Athletes against Alzheimer’s Radiothon. And Bruce and his daughter Lynn are starting a new fundraiser, Boots and Buckeyes, at the All American Quarter Horse Congress Oct. 16 at the Ohio Expo Center. To date, the events have raised more than $1 million for Alzheimer’s research.



“I wish it were a heck of a lot more,”

Bruce said, noting that Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death among Americans 65 and older. “And it’s growing. There’s only one way to stop it, and that’s to get the research going.”That’s a coach’s mentality: Faced with a tough opponent, beat them any way you can. And Bruce learned that from one of the best, Woody Hayes.

How you can help
Donate Online
Join Lynn and Earle Bruce by making a gift online to help improve the lives of people with Alzheimer's Disease.
Donate by Mail
The Office of Medical Center Development
660 Ackerman Road
P.O. Box 183112
Columbus, OH 43218-3112