The late Bruce Bosley, a former consensus All-American and College Football Hall of Fame offensive and defensive lineman, will be the third West Virginia University football player to have his number retired by the school.
WVU announced Wednesday that Bosley’s number will be retired at the Mountaineers’ season opener versus Missouri on Sept. 3. His No. 77 will join Sam Huff’s No. 75 and Ira “Rat” Rodgers’ No. 21 among the retired numbers list.
Bosley earned consensus All-America honors in 1955 for the Mountaineers as a two-way tackle for coach Art “Pappy” Lewis and was named to 12 All-America teams. He also was a CoSIDA Academic All-American and played in the College All-Star Game, North-South Game and the Senior Bowl.
Bosley teamed with fellow linemen Huff and Gene “Beef” Lamone to help West Virginia to a 31-7 record, including a 3-1 mark against Penn State and two wins over Pitt. He was a key member of West Virginia’s 1954 Sugar Bowl team that finished with an 8-2 record and a Southern Conference championship.
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, moved to offensive guard and then to center in 1962. Bosley was a 49ers team captain in 1967 and 1968 and finished his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1969. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1961 as an offensive guard and again in 1966, 1967 and 1968 as a center.
After retirement, Bosley 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, was 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.
Bosley also went on to be the president of the NFL Alumni Association, and become a member of the 49ers “Golden Era” team from 1946-69. He was selected to college football’s Silver Anniversary team in 1981, WVU’s all-time football team (1950-59), inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982, the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, and the newly formed Mountaineer Legends Society in 2016. Bosley died in 1995 at age 61.
Currently, junior offensive lineman Marcell Lazard wears No. 77 for the Mountaineers, and will finish his career in that number before it goes into permanent retirement.