Bruce DeHaven

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Bruce DeHaven
Personal information
Date of birth: (1948-09-06)September 6, 1948
Place of birth: Trousdale, Kansas
Date of death: December 27, 2016(2016-12-27) (aged 68)
Place of death: Orchard Park, New York
Career history
As coach:

Bruce Leroy DeHaven (September 6, 1948 – December 27, 2016) was an American football coach.[1] Specializing in special teams coaching, DeHaven held that position for four teams in the National Football League, his longest tenure being 16 seasons over two runs with the Buffalo Bills.

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 began his professional coaching career in the United States Football League, serving as the assistant offensive line coach and special teams coordinator for the New Jersey Generals in 1983, the Pittsburgh Maulers in 1984 and the Orlando Renegades in 1985.[2]

In 1987, DeHaven 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, there was also Scott Norwood's missed kick in Super Bowl XXV 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][3]

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.[4]

In 2013 DeHaven was hired as the Carolina Panthers assistant special teams coordinator 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]

Illness and death[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.[5]

DeHaven died December 27, 2016, at his home in Orchard Park, New York.[6]


  1. ^ "Buffalo Bills: Bruce DeHaven". Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Carolina Panthers: Bruce DeHaven". Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Allen (January 21, 2000). "San Jose St. coach to handle Bills' special teams". Buffalo News. Archived from the original on March 2, 2000. Retrieved December 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Bruce DeHaven - Pro Football". Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  5. ^ "As special-teams coach Bruce DeHaven fights cancer, Panthers fight for him". Retrieved June 6, 2016. 
  6. ^ Panthers special teams coach Bruce DeHaven dies at 68 after cancer battle