Bruce DeHaven

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Bruce DeHaven
Carolina Panthers
Place of birth Trousdale, Kansas
Career history
As coach
1979–1981 University of Kansas (OL/DB)
1982 New Mexico State University (OL)
1983 New Jersey Generals (Asst. OL/ST)
1984 Pittsburgh Maulers (OL/ST)
1985 Orlando Renegades (RB/ST)
1987–1999 Buffalo Bills (ST)
2000–2002 San Francisco 49ers (ST)
2003–2006 Dallas Cowboys (ST)
2007–2009 Seattle Seahawks (ST)
2010–2012 Buffalo Bills (ST)
2013–present Carolina Panthers (ST)

Bruce DeHaven is an American football coach.[1] DeHaven is well known for being the special teams coach of the Bills from 1986 to 1999, but he also made the playoffs in the same role for three other franchises and saw 15 different teams he was part of reach the playoffs during his career. He was their special teams coach when, most notably, Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal in Super Bowl XXV, dubbed Wide Right.

Coaching career[edit]

Before coaching in the NFL, DeHaven was the defensive back and offensive line coach in addition to the recruiting coordinator at Kansas. He served as the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at New Mexico State.[2]

DeHaven was then hired as the assistant offensive line coach and special teams coordinator for the USFL's New Jersey Generals in 1983, and moved on to serve the same positions for the Pittsburgh Maulers in 1984 as well as the Orlando Renegades.[2]

In 1987, he was hired as the Buffalo Bills special teams coordinator and spent 13 seasons with the Bills under that capacity and was a part of a Bills staff that won four consecutive AFC Championships. While DeHaven was the Bills special teams coordinator, kicker Steve Christie set Bills team records in 1998 with 140 points and 33 made field goals and became the franchise's all-time leading scorer. Also under DeHaven's coaching, 7-time gunner Steve Tasker, who was revered[by whom?] as one of the NFL's most fierce tacklers, had his best seasons. However, his time with the Bills is mostly remembered[by whom?] for Scott Norwood's missed kick in Super Bowl 25 which led to a Bills loss in Super Bowl XXV, as well as the Music City Miracle in which the Tennessee Titans performed a successful trick play in the fourth quarter which led to a Bills loss in the 1999 NFL Wild Card game. After the 1999 season, DeHaven was fired.[2]

After his firing by the Bills, he was the special teams coordinator for San Francisco 49ers from 2000 to 2002, the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2006, and the Seattle Seahawks from 2007 to 2009 before joining the Bills again in 2010 until 2012.[3]

He was hired as the Carolina Panthers assistant special teams coordinator in 2013 before being elevated to special teams coordinator in 2014. During his time with the Panthers, punter Brad Nortman set team records for net average (41.6 yards per punt) and gross average (47.8 yards per punt). Kicker Graham Gano set team records with 6 kicks of 50 or more yards, and touchback percentage on kickoffs (79.7 yards per kick). Punt returner Ted Ginn, Jr. also set a team record with 12.2 yards per punt. Long snapper J.J. Jansen was also named a Pro Bowler under DeHaven's coaching.[2]

Personal life[edit]

In May 2015, DeHaven was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and was told he had anywhere from five months to five years to live.[4]