Earle Bruce replaced Woody Hayes as Ohio State University's football coach today at a news conference marred by a black protest.
"It's really a dream come true," the 47-year-old former Iowa State University coach said. "To me, it (the Ohio State job) has been the epitome of college coaching."
While Bruce was answering questions from the news media representatives, Tom Fullove, president of the Columbus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, took over.
"I don't think your record is that good," Fullove told Bruce, 46-34-0 in seven college seasons."The coach we wanted to push (Rudy Hubbard of Florida A&M) has a far better record than yours. He's only lost two games in the last years.
"We want you to know we're going to show opposition to your appointment."
Bruce did not reply to Fullove and the news conference resumed.
Fullove later said, "We're trying to hurt this coach here. It's the second time a black has been bypassed. We went along with the basketball appointment."
Fullove, who says he represents 3,000 NAACP members in Columbus, said Joe Roberts, a former Ohio State star and assistant coach in the pro ranks, should have had the Buckeyes' basketball coaching job three years ago when Eldon Miller was named.
Roberts is black and Miller white.
Fullove said the NAACP plans no lawsuit and will not directly tell black high school athletes not to come to Ohio State. "We just wanted to let them know our feelings," he said.
"We think a black should have been seriously considered. "We're going to black and white about, it," said Fultell them (prospective recruits), both love. "There are a lot of mommys and daddys who belong to the NAACP."
Ohio State has two black assistant football coaches, Bill Myles and Mickey Jackson. Gerry Sears, also black, is an assistant coach in basketball. The Big Ten Conference school has one black head coach, Mamie Rallins, in women's track and cross country.
Dick Delaney, a black who is an assistant athletic director, was upset at Fullove's remarks.
"Bruce did a helluva job by not saying anything. It was an introduction of Bruce, not a press conference for Fullove," snapped Delaney.
Bruce said he talked earlier today with Hayes, his boss from 1966 through 1971. "He said he would support me in any way," Bruce said. Bruce coached the Buckeye defensive backs for two seasons and the centers and offensive guards under Hayes.
Bruce, a 1953 Ohio State graduate from Cumberland, Md., said he planned to launch a vigorous recruiting campaign.
Because of an Ohio law, Bruce could only sign a one-year contract at a salary of between $35,000 and $40,000 annually. He also will draw at least $1,000 weekly from an in-season television show.
Bruce also was faced with the possible defection of his star quarterback, freshman Art Schlichter.
Schlichter, undecided about staying at the university, said, "Right now my future is up in the air."