All-time UCLA, Pac-12 coaching wins leader Terry Donahue dies at 77

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UCLA and Pac-12 all-time wins leader Terry Donahue died on Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 77 years old. 

UCLA announced that Donahue died in his Newport Beach, California home surrounded by family. 

Donahue coached UCLA from 1976-95, leading the program to a 151-74-8 record while winning Coach of the Year honors in the conference twice. The Bruins won five conference championships and finished second 12 times during his tenure. UCLA's 98 conference wins under Donahue remain a Pac-12 coaching record.

"There aren't enough words to properly honor Terry Donahue and what he means to the Bruin family and anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing him," current UCLA coach Chip Kelly said in a statement. "He epitomizes everything you strive to be as a coach and as a human being."

Terry Donahue, seen here with quarterback John Barnes in 1992, led the most succesful era of football in UCLA history. (Otto Greule Jr /Allsport/Getty Images)
Terry Donahue, seen here with quarterback John Barnes in 1992, led the most succesful era of football in UCLA history. (Otto Greule Jr /Allsport/Getty Images)

From Bruins walk-on to head coach

A Los Angeles native, Donahue walked on as a defensive lineman at UCLA in 1965 and started on the school's first Rose Bowl championship team that same season as the Bruins upset top-ranked Michigan State. Eleven years later he took over as head coach at 31 years old after serving as an assistant under Pepper Rodgers and Dick Vermeil.

The Bruins won seven straight bowl games from 1982-88 under Donahue, a span that included three Rose Bowl victories. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman led the last two of UCLA's bowl victories during that streak. 

Donahue finished his career at UCLA with five straight wins over crosstown rival USC. He retired in 1995 to take a broadcasting job with CBS, a decision he later described as premature. His stretch of success at UCLA was unprecedented in the program and hasn't been approached since. 

Donahue was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. He worked seven seasons in the San Francisco 49ers front office, including a five-year stint as general manager from 2001-05. 

Donahue is survived by his wife Andrea, daughters Nicole, Michele and Jennifer and 10 grandchildren.

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