After Bruce coached his first Ware County team to a 6-4 record, not much was expected the following season. Predicted to finish fifth in a 10-team region, he confounded the scribes by guiding the Gators to the 1976 region championship. A title claimed after one of the most incredible comebacks in school history. Down 20-0 to an unbeaten Coffee team that had been beaten by them 40-6 in the regular season, the squad stormed back to a 21-20 victory.
The 1977 team was ranked first in state and had a 9-0 ledger before losing to the eventual state champion Waycross Bulldogs 3-0. Many consider this the best team of the Bruce Bennett era.
Led by Tim McCray, his 1978 region champions lost in the state quarter final game to another eventual state champion from Westminster High School of Atlanta. A high scoring shootout, it was one of the most exciting games ever played in Memorial Stadium.
After the 1978 season, Bruce resigned to accept a position in the Canadian Football League but strong public sentiment and a concerted campaign persuaded him to rescind that decision and remain five more years at the Gator helm.
Bruce quarterbacked Wright Bazemore’s Valdosta Wildcats to state championships in 1960 and 1961. He went to Florida on scholarship and became an All American defensive back and capped his playing career in the Canadian Football League before entering the coaching ranks.
Bruce and his wife, Starling, have three sons, Billy, Bobby and Bradley. After leaving Ware County he became the Athletic Director and Head Football at Lumpkin County High School in Dahlonega