WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Written by John Antonik
Bruce Bosley earned consensus All-America honors in 1954 for the Mountaineers as a two-way tackle for coach Art "Pappy" Lewis.
Back to Hall Of Fame
Lewis first discovered Bosley while he was playing high school basketball across the state in Green Bank. When Lewis saw Bosley's bulging muscles and the way he moved on the court for such a big guy he had to find out if his discovery had ever played football. He had, and Lewis convinced him to come to WVU right on the spot.
When the North team lost a lineman during practice for the North-South High School all-star game, Lewis recommended they pick up Bosley as long as no other college coaches were allowed to talk to him. When Bosley finally showed up, the rest of the players were stunned that he wasn't one of the first players invited instead of the last.
"He looked like an Adonis," said WVU teammate Fred Wyant.
Bosley became a four-year letterwinner at tackle for the Mountaineers from 1952-55, combining brute strength with the agility of a much smaller player to be named to 12 All-America teams.
Selected as the AP national player of the week following WVU's 19-14 upset of Penn State in 1954, Bosley, also an Academic All-American, played in the College All-Star Game, North-South Game and Senior Bowl.
Bosley teamed with linemen Sam Huff and Gene "Beef" Lamone to help West Virginia to a 31-7 record, including a 3-1 mark against rival Penn State. Bosley was also a key member of West Virginia’s 1954 Sugar Bowl team that lost to Pepper Rodgers-led Georgia Tech.
A second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1956, he went on to become an immediate starter for the 49ers at defensive end and played all but two minutes of his first season at that spot.
He moved to offensive guard and then to center in 1962, where he excelled until 1969 when he finished his playing career with the Atlanta Falcons.
He was named to the Sporting News Western Conference all-star team as a guard in 1959, a distinction he earned again in 1961.
Bosley earned Pro Bowl status in 1961, 1966, 1967 and 1968, the last three times as a center. Teammate Bill Curry once called Bosley "one of the three best centers in the NFL" during his playing days. He was a 49er team captain in 1967 and 1968.
In 1967, Bosley was featured on a show called "They Lead Two Lives", produced by NFL Films, showcasing his talents as a football player and a restorer of old homes. When he retired, Bosley became part owner of a wholesale electrical supply house and was well known in the San Francisco area for his charitable endeavors.
He served on the board of directors for the San Francisco Annex for Cultural Arts, membership on the mayor's committee for the San Francisco Council for the Performing Arts, and was a long-serving volunteer with the San Francisco Film Festival and the San Francisco Ballet.
The late standout was also president of the NFL Alumni Association. Bosley is a member of the 49ers "Golden Era" team from 1946-69 and was selected to college football's Silver Anniversary team in 1981.
A member of West Virginia's all-time football team and the College Football Hall of Fame, Bosley died of a heart attack on April 26, 1995.