Former Ohio State Coach Earle Bruce was named Friday as head football coach at Colorado State University.

Bruce, 57, "brings to our program a history of success," athletic director Oval Jaynes said in announcing the choice. "We're extremely excited to have him join our staff."Bruce signed a four-year contract. He takes over a program that won just one game in each of the last two years under Leon Fuller.

Bruce, who resigned Saturday as coach of Northern Iowa, a Division I-AA school, insisted he was "not a miracle worker" but added, "If I thought this was not a place that could win, I would not have looked at the job."

Bruce had been considered CSU's leading candidate for the job for the past week, but an agreement was stalled because of Bruce's difficulty in getting arelease from the final three years of his four-year contract at Northern Iowa. Bruce resigned from NIU after just six months on the job, apparently frustrated at the level of funding for the program.

In 16 years of coaching at the major-college level, Bruce has compiled a 132-66-1 record. He was 5-6 at Northern Iowa.

In nine seasons at Ohio State, he guided the Buckeyes to an 81-26-1 record, including two Big 10 titles, a pair of co-championships and eight bowl appearances. Despite that record, he was fired with one game left in the 1987 season. He previously coached at Tampa and Iowa State.

"Not only is Earle an outstanding football coach, he upholds the ideals of Colorado State in general, and our department specifically - that of honesty and hard work," Jaynes said.

Bruce's $64,000-a-year contract at Northern Iowa contained an escape clause that allowed him to break his contract to take a job at one of five named schools - not including Colorado State. If Bruce sought to go to any other school, he had to reach a settlement with Northern Iowa.

Bruce said Friday he had turned the contract issue over to his attorney, declining to say if the matter was settled. But a CSU source said an agreement wouldn't have been reached with Bruce if the dispute remained contentious.

Bruce succeeds Fuller, who resigned under fire Nov. 28 after compiling a 25-55 record in seven seasons at CSU, including 1-11 and 1-10 marks the past two seasons.

Bruce said his first goal at CSU is to "establish a solid defense, which is the key to building a good football team." He said he would assume the duties of offensive coordinator.

He said he planned to bring two or three of his assistants from Northern Iowa to CSU but also would keep at least one assistant from the current staff to help ease the transition.