Legendary UCLA football coach Terry Donahue is battling cancer


Former longtime UCLA football coach Terry Donahue recently underwent surgery for an undisclosed form of cancer and will begin chemotherapy after his recovery, the school announced Tuesday.

Donahue, an undersized walk-on defensive lineman who rose to become the winningest football coach in school and Pac-12 Conference history, had surgery Friday at UC San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center to treat his condition and was released from the hospital Tuesday morning.

Donahue, 74, guided the Bruins to a 151-74-8 record and five Pac-10 championships in his 20 years as head coach, taking his teams to 13 bowl games and winning three of his four appearances in the Rose Bowl. He became the first coach in NCAA history to win a bowl game in seven consecutive seasons, winning the 1983 and ’84 Rose Bowls, the ’85 Fiesta Bowl, the ’86 Rose Bowl, the ’86 Freedom Bowl, the ’87 Aloha Bowl and the ’89 Cotton Bowl.


UCLA finished ranked in the top 20 nationally 12 times under Donahue, including five top-10 finishes. Donahue’s 98 conference wins are still the most in conference history. Donahue also appeared in a Rose Bowl as a player at UCLA and helped coach the Bruins during another appearance in his five years as an assistant coach before replacing Dick Vermeil in 1976.

Donahue coached 34 first-team All-Americans, including Troy Aikman, Kenny Easley and Ken Norton Jr. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1997 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. UCLA named the suite level inside the renovated Rose Bowl the Terry Donahue Pavilion in honor of the former coach.