Terry Donahue, Former 49ers GM and Winningest Coach In UCLA History, Dies At 77

We bring some unfortunate news this morning. After a two-year battle with cancer, former San Francisco 49ers general manager and longtime UCLA head coach Terry Donahue has died at the age of 77.

The official website for the Bruins released the news of his passing late on Sunday night and mentioned that Donahue was surrounded by his family in his Newport Beach, California home when he went.

Current UCLA head coach issued a statement on Donahue’s passing, which reads:

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. He epitomizes everything you strive to be as a coach and as a human being. Since the moment I stepped on campus, he’s been an incredible mentor and one of the most authentic, humble and toughest men I’ve ever met. He loved UCLA with all he had, and I can’t express how important his guidance and friendship has been for me. He is an irreplaceable representation of the BRUIN WAY. We will always love and play for TD. Our deepest condolences to Andrea, the Donahue family and everyone lucky enough to know him.

Donahue was a Los Angeles, California native who played for the Bruins back in the 1960s. After his playing career ended, he briefly spent some time as an assistant coach at Kansas before returning to his alma mater in 1971 as an assistant under Pepper Rodgers.

He remained on UCLA’s staff during the two-year stint under Dick Vermeil and then took over as head coach when Vermeil left to join the Philadelphia Eagles in 1976. Donahue served in that role until 1995.

During that time, his teams went a combined 151-74-8 (.648), and he was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year on two separate occasions, in 1985 and 1993. He holds the record for most wins at UCLA, as well as the most conference wins (98) in the Pac-12.

After moving on from UCLA and spending three seasons as a college football analyst for CBS Sports, Donahue was offered the chance to reunite with his former quarterback, Troy Aikman, as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, but he ultimately turned that job down.

He then went on to accept a role with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999 before becoming the team’s general manager in 2001. He spent four seasons in that role, but he was fired in 2005 and went back to broadcasting for a brief period.

This is a man who achieved a lot during his professional career. He was a successful college football coach, an NFL GM and an analyst/broadcaster. That’s quite the resume.


Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.


Leave a Reply
  1. Should have stated Football coach when I first read I immediately thought of John Wooden who’s record is absolutely stunning but I won’t go into the numbers here but I will say RIP and yes condolences to his family.

Leave a Reply