"This honor fills me with an emotion that is impossible to express," said Donahue. "My family and I are deeply moved by such a tribute. I feel a tremendous sense of humility, pride and gratitude to so many players, coaches and friends for making this a reality. The official dedication will be something we will cherish forever."
Donahue compiled a 151-74-8 record as UCLA’s head coach from 1976-1995. In addition to the College Football Hall of Fame, he has also been inducted into the UCLA Athletics (2001), Rose Bowl (1997) and Sun Bowl (2005) Halls of Fame. In 2008, he was named the Edward A. Dickson (UCLA) Alumnus of the Year for "Outstanding achievement in his professional field, in service to his community, in public service and in service to the University."
"Terry Donahue’s accomplishments on the field during his time with the UCLA football program are legendary,” said UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. "Those accomplishments, however, pale in comparison to Terry’s character and integrity. He is a tremendous ambassador for the program, the athletic department, the university and the game of football in general, and I cannot think of a person more deserving of this honor than TD."
"Coach Donahue was not only a football coach, but a mentor and coach for being successful in life," said former UCLA offensive lineman Andy Meyers at the time of the initial announcement. "Having Coach Donahue's name being permanently ensconced on the Rose Bowl is not only honoring his legacy as the winningest coach in Pac-10 history, but an honor for Bruins everywhere."
Donahue’s legacy to the university, which began as a student-athlete in the 1960s and was later cemented as a head coach, is noteworthy. As a 195-pound defensive lineman on the 1965 UCLA team that upset heavily-favored USC, then took down top-ranked Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl game, Donahue was the personification of the "gutty little Bruin."
After graduation, Donahue returned to the program under Pepper Rodgers and served as an assistant under Dick Vermeil on the 1976 Rose Bowl championship team that beat Ohio State. He succeeded Vermeil that same year, beginning a 20-year stint in which Donahue made UCLA into a consistent college football power. He became the first coach to win a bowl game in seven consecutive seasons and had an 8-4-1 overall career record in bowl games, including victories in four consecutive New Year’s Day bowls. Included in that record were three Rose Bowls (1983, 1984 and 1986), emblematic of three of the five Pac-10 Conference titles Donahue won or shared. Donahue owns the most conference wins of any coach in Pac-10 history (98) and the most wins in UCLA history (151). He also edged out cross-town rival USC for bragging rights courtesy of a 10-9-1 record. Under Donahue’s tutelage, UCLA produced 34 first-team All-Americans and had 14 players selected in the first round of the NFL draft.