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Bridge and Dubois have been fixtures around North Miami for more than half a century

For more than five decades, Bob Bridge and Tim DuBois have given their heart and soul to Indiana high school football.


A love of the game, relationships, and community have driven them to work together at North Miami High School.

Long after retiring as teachers, Bridge for 25 years in social studies and DuBois in German and physical education for 41 years, they have continued to lend their expertise on the gridiron.

A 1960 graduate of Hartford City (Ind.) High School, Bridge earned two letters in football competing for John Carbone's Airedales.

While at Saint Joseph College in Rensselaer, Indiana, he won two football monograms playing for Ed Dwyer.

Then, while attending Indiana University School of Law, he decided wearing a three-piece suit and tie and carrying a briefcase was not for him, so he transferred to Ball State University and got into teaching and coaching.

"Bob lives and dies football," DuBois said of Bridge. "That's the main thing about Bob."

A member of the Indiana Football Coaches Association for 57 years, Bridge has served the organization as president and has been on many IFCA and Indiana Football Hall of Fame committees. He has been a member of the board for the Wishbone Association and Indiana Option Camp.

The 2003 Indiana Football Hall of Fame inductee was an assistant for nine years (1966-1974) at Hartford City, which later became Blackford High School.

With Carbone serving as athletic director, he was on Eldon Leeth's staff when the Bruins were Class 2A state runner-up in 1973 and then Class 2A state champions in 1974.

Bridge got his first job as a head coach at South Adams where he stayed from 1975 to 1984 before moving on to North Miami where he was in charge from 1985 to 2000.

During his run with the Warriors, they won the 1993 Class 1A state championship as well as three sectional crowns (1985, 1993, 1994), two regional titles (1993, 1994), and a trio of Three Rivers Conference championships (1985, 1991, 1995).

After being let go at North Miami, he went on to be an assistant at Northwestern for three years and at Southwood for seven years before rejoining the Warriors' staff.

When asked "why" he has been involved for so long, he had a simple answer.

"It's the relationships with the players, your fellow coaches and opposing coaches," Bridge explained. "Some of my best friends were on the other sideline. Everybody on the North Miami staff, Coach DuBois and I coached or had them as students."

Being an educator and coach at a small school also appealed to him.

From 1985-2010, he was the only U.S. History teacher at North Miami, which these days has about 280 students in the top four grades).

"It's a required course, so every student who came through the school I knew," Bridge said. "You get to know everybody and connect with them rather than it just being a number and a name.

"One of the things I miss the most since retiring is being at school when it's not football season. In February. I could go down to the lunchroom and say things like, 'Your Mom is having surgery today, good luck!' or I'd be out in the hallway and a kid would go by and I'd say, 'Good luck on your English test.'

"It wasn't football, so they realized that I didn't look at them as a piece of meat. I was interested in them as a person."

He was also an assistant track and field coach at Hartford City (Blackford), South Adams, and North Miami and appreciated those chances to relate.

"When they were reloading and getting their rest from a workout, you could stand along the fence and talk to them," explained Bridge. "It doesn't have the intensity of every play or every rep like football practice. It's an altogether different mindset."

Bridge and Sheridan's Larry "Bud" Wright, another Indiana Football Hall of Fame member and nine-time state champion who is heading into his 58th season at his alma mater, get together every few weeks, typically at Bridge's home.

They are slated to be on competing sides in week two this fall when North Miami visits the Blackhawks.

"It's just a good long friendship," said Bridge, who also counts Bill Sharpe, another Indiana Football Hall of Famer and four-time state champion at Jimtown, as a close friend.

Sharpe and Bridge squared off in the playoffs in the early 1990's and spent hours together at clinics and coaching all-star teams.

Last season, Bridge worked with the fullbacks, linebackers, defensive backs, and game-planning, while DuBois assisted in guiding the linemen on both sides of the ball.

"I'll help out in whatever capacity they need me," Bridge said. "Whatever (current head coach) Joe Grant wants me to do, I'm not looking for a decision-making position. I'm not looking for a title. I just enjoy being around football."

Bob and his wife JoAnn live on Bridge Street in Mexico, Indiana and have a daughter (JoAnn), who lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters.

A 1963 North Miami graduate and second football captain in school history, DuBois has been around the community most of his life with the exception of his time at McMurry College and Manchester University.

During his time with the Warriors, he has served as head football coach, athletic director, head wrestling coach, head softball coach, and has been a part of all their football championships on the field named after him (Tim DuBois Field).

"The people are so friendly," said DuBois, who was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2022. "It's a family atmosphere. Everyone gets along. It was a neat place to coach and teach."

When the Warriors claimed the 1993 Class 1A state crown, they did so with four 1,000-yard rushers in their option attack.

"It was a group of kids who really put their heart and soul into the game of football," DuBois recalled. "They played for one another. They weren't selfish at all."

With many players returning, they made it back to the semistate in 1994 before losing to eventual state champion North White (31-20).

He recalls playing up-tempo with no huddle and running on 98 of 105 plays in a 28-21 home win against pass-oriented Manchester.

"We were a ball-control team," DuBois said. "If we made four yards that was a great play."

Bridge considers DuBois to be an icon.

"We had some decent backs, but Coach DuBois is one of these iconic offensive line coaches," explained Bridge. "He doesn't want to call plays. All he wants to do is coach the offensive line."

Why the O-line?

"I liked coaching the offensive line because it requires so much teamwork," DuBois said. "There's just communication, knowing what their responsibilities are and doing what they're supposed to do."

Occasionally, they might have had a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder on the line, but that was the exception rather than the rule.

"The 160-pound guys were more the norm," DuBois said. "We played option, so we didn't have to block those great big guys all the time.

"We did not pass-block too much. I think there were a couple of games where we didn't pass the ball at all."

Current coach Joe Grant was a manager for Kevin Wilson and Bill Lynch at Indiana University and then served as an assistant to Wright at Sheridan for three seasons.

After serving as the top man at Rochester in 2016, he came home the following season where he teaches strength and conditioning and one period of U.S. Government in Bridge's former classroom.

"(Coach Bridge) is a guy I can bounce a lot of ideas off of and get advice," Grant said. "He's been a great guy for me to have around."

Jeff Grant, Joe's father, was on Bridge's staff and is now coaching with his son.

Like Bridge, it was the relationships that kept him coming back.

"Just getting to know and working with the kids, that's the main thing," DuBois said. "If it wasn't for the kids, I wouldn't be in it."

Unfortunately, he indicates he will likely not be coaching this fall.

"I'm battling some health problems," DuBois said. "I don't think I'll do it."

Tim and his wife Linda now live in Peru, Indiana. They have a daughter, Anne Marie (DuBois) Martin, a son, Jimmy, and a granddaughter, Abby Martin.

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