Three worst head coaching hires in Ohio State football history

Chris Holtmann was an awful hire for the basketball program. That got us thinking: who have been the worst hires for the Ohio State football program?

Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day leads warm-ups prior to
Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day leads warm-ups prior to / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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1. Earle Bruce, Ohio State football coach 1979-1987

To be honest, it was hard to choose between Cooper and Earle Bruce for the worst hire. Bruce didn't do poorly with the Buckeyes. He won four Big Ten championships after following a legend in Woody Hayes. That's not an easy feat when following a revered coach.

His first year of coaching was his best. The 1979 team had a shot to win a national title by beating USC in the Rose Bowl. Instead, the Buckeyes fell by a single point. That would be the closest Bruce would sniff a national title because he never came close with the players he recruited.

The success of the 1979 team was with Woody's players. Bruce would go on to lose at least three games in every season following that year. He was never able to replicate the success he had in '79. It wasn't the type of success the Ohio State football program was used to.

Bruce finished up his nine-season run with the Buckeyes with an 81-26-1 record. Obviously, that's still pretty good for most programs. It's not good enough at Ohio State. Bruce was a big mentor to Urban Meyer though, so that's a positive that came from his tenure.

Next. Next story. Ohio State's newest coach signs an extension. dark

These are the three worst hires in Ohio State football history. As you can see, none of them are terrible. Yet, someone has to be the worst. If Day doesn't win big next year, he could vault up these rankings though.