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Former Patriots Running Backs Coach Cleve Bryant Passes Away

Robert Alvarez
Robert Alvarez on Twitter
February 2, 2023 at 8:28 pm ET

Former Patriots Running Backs Coach Cleve Bryant Passes Away(PHOTO: Steve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com)

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Former football coach Cleve Bryant, who spent two seasons as an assistant with the New England Patriots from 1982-1984 has passed away. He was 75 years old.

Bryant’s football journey began as a quarterback for the Ohio University Bobcats from 1965-69, earning All Mid-American Conference honors in 1967 after leading Ohio to their third conference championship title. In 1968, Bryant’s team repeated as conference champions as he won MAC Player of the Year.

In 1970, Bryant was drafted in the 11th round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, but he didn’t make the team and elected to go into coaching.

Bryant took his first assistant coaching position in 1977 at Miami (OH). While there, he worked with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. The following year, he accepted the quarterbacks coach job at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels won the 1980 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and qualified for three bowl games from 1978-81 during his tenure.

After the season, Bryant left North Carolina for the pros as the running backs coach for the New England Patriots under head coach Ron Meyer. Under his watch, the Patriots finished second and fifth in rushing in 1982 and 1983 and made the playoffs in 1982. During that span, Bryant coached notable Pro Bowl running backs Sam Cunningham and Tony Collins.

By 1985, Bryant returned his alma mater of Ohio Univeristy as the football head coach, becoming the third black head football coach in NCAA Division I history. He coached the Bobcats from 1985-89. He went 9-44-2 in five seasons with the Bobcats, and later concluded his coaching career at Illinois, Texas and North Carolina. From 2000 until his retirement in 2011, Bryant was the Texas Associate Athletics Director.

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