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Terry Donahue, Former UCLA Coach and 49ers GM, Dies at 77

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 5, 2021

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Terry Donahue, the legendary former head coach of UCLA football who later served as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, died of cancer Sunday.

He was 77.

Donahue served as the head coach at UCLA from 1976 to 1995, winning a school-record 151 games. He is also the winningest coach in Pac-12 history with 98 victories.

The Bruins won five conference championships and three Rose Bowls during his tenure. Donahue was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

"He epitomizes everything you strive to be as a coach and as a human being," current UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. "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."

After leaving UCLA following the 1995 season, Donahue spent the remainder of his football career in the 49ers organization. He was their director of player personnel from 1999 to 2000 until serving as general manager from 2001 to 2005, becoming the successor to Bill Walsh.

The 49ers made the playoffs in Donahue's first two seasons as general manager but struggled in the latter half of his tenure, failing to make the postseason in his final three years with the team.

Following his departure from the 49ers, Donahue worked in broadcasting for Fox and NFL Network.

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He is survived by his wife, Andrea, daughters Nicole, Michele and Jennifer, three sons-in-law and 10 grandchildren.

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