This isn’t the normal journalistic article you may have been used to from me. Although I didn’t know the man, Bobby Bowden meant a lot to me.
Not to bury the lede, Bobby Bowden passed away on Sunday from pancreatic cancer. He was 91.
I have been a football fan since I can remember. The first game I went to was the 1985 Gator Bowl against Oklahoma State.
My aunt and uncle went to grad school at FSU, and so since I can remember I have been a Seminoles fan.
Bowden played quarterback and running back at Howard College,, Alabama and Samford University. After his playing career was over, he became an assistant at Samford.
After that season, he spent one year as the head coach for South Georgia State College. After that season, he returned to Samford in that same position.
Three years later Bowden joined FSU as the wide receivers’ coach. After 3 years as the offensive coordinator, he began his head coaching career at a big time school for West Virginia.
In 1976 Bowden got his dream job. He spent 33 years as the head coach at Florida State. And almost immediately he changed college football forever. At least for me.
The Tomahawk Chop. The best tradition in football, the ride of Chief Osceola and Renegade.
In all, he went 377-129-4 as a head coach. He was 21-10-1 in bowl games. Two National Titles (1993, 1999), 12 ACC Championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
He recruited and coached the likes of Deion Sanders, Warrick Dunn, Charlie Ward (the only Heisman Trophy winner to play in the NBA), Anquan Boldin, Derrick Brooks, and many many more.
He coached two Heisman winners: Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke.
He built a culture in football that could only be copied elsewhere. FSU was one of the top schools for decades. Known for both their close misses (wide right) and their dominance (30 straight Bowl games, over 230 NFL players, over 200 All-americans).
They even coined a game after him, the Bowden Bowl, whenever he would play one of his sons who used to be head coaches; Tommy at Clemson, Terry at Auburn, and Jeff who used to be his offensive coordinator.
And everyone knows and loves his wife Ann. They’ve been together since 1949. Amazing. Six kids and 21 grandkids.
He’s a celebrated author. I mean the field at Doak Campbell Stadium is named for him.
He passed away a man loved by many. He is why I love football as much as I do. Especially the college game. I’m a diehard Florida State fan. And today, I’m celebrating Bobby Bowden.
The greatest coach in football history.