ATHENS, Ohio — Former Ohio football quarterback and head coach Cleve Bryant passed away Tuesday morning (Jan. 31). He was 75 years old.
Bryant played for the Bobcats from 1965-69, earning All Mid-American Conference honors in 1967 after leading Ohio to their third conference championship title. The Bobcats claimed back-to-back MAC championships, winning again in 1968, earning Bryant 1968 MAC Player of the Year. Bryant was drafted in the 11th round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He was inducted into the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Citrus Bowl Hall of Fame in 1988.
Bryant returned to Ohio as head coach for the 1985 season, becoming the third black head football coach in NCAA Division I history. He coached the Bobcats from 1985-89.
Bryant started his coaching career in 1977 as an assistant coach at Miami. There, he worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers. The following year, he accepted a position as the quarterbacks coach at UNC Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels won the 1980 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and qualified for three bowl games from 1978-81.
Bryant left Chapel Hill in 1982 to become the running backs coach for the New England Patriots. Under his guidance, the Patriots finished second and fifth in rushing in 1982 and 1983, respectively.
He had two more stints as a wide receivers coach—Illinois (1990-91) and Texas (1992-94)—before returning to Chapel Hill as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator where he worked for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Mack Brown from 1995-97. In 1998, Bryant was named the Texas Longhorns' Assistant Athletics Director. In 2000, he became the Longhorns' Associate Athletics Director and remained in that position until his retirement in 2011.