Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bobby Bowden- Saying Goodbye To A Legend

I just wanted to get my two cents in regarding the "resignation" of Florida State Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden....and I did put resignation in quotes, because the man was forced out. Like Casey Stengel with the Yankees in 1960, Coach Bowden's major offense was he just got old. His 6-6 record and 4-4 in the ACC made the Seminoles bowl eligible once again, but it wasn't good enough for the administration. Bowden has been the coach at FSU since 1976 following a successful run at West Virginia. FSU didn't start playing Division One football until 1947, didn't give athletic scholarships until 1951, had some success in the 1960's under head coach Bill Peterson, but by the 1970's the program was a disaster, going winless in 1970 and not much better in the first half of the decade.

Enter Coach Bowden, the witty, affable, good old boy who was even a better man than he was a coach....and a damn fine coach he was. He won 388 games in his career, second only to Penn State's Joe Paterno. He led his team to a record 27 consecutive bowl games; 15 of those were on New Year's Day. His teams won 10 or more games for 14 seasons in a row. All along he and his wife have lived in the same house in Tallahassee, had the same phone number, and turned FSU football into a family affair, having his sons and son in law serving as assistants.

And I forgot to include that he did win two national championships...sorry 'bout that!

There was a Florida State football team before 1976, but Bobby Bowden became the Florida State program. What he did for FSU football is similar to what John Thompson did for Georgetown basketball, or what Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt did for UCONN and Tennessee women's basketball- he built something that will forever be identified with him in history.

When Jimbo Fisher was added to his staff several years ago as Bowden's designated successor the writing was on the wall. Bobby Bowden was forced out by the administration and boosters at FSU, plain and simple. They already built a statue to him in front of Doak Campbell Stadium, so I guess that made it OK to turn him loose.

He deserved better..Bobby Bowden should have been allowed to come back for a farewll tour in the ACC one last time. Its so sad.

I did get a chance to see his team play back in the early 1990's when they blew out Kansas in a game held at Giant's Stadium. That group included Derek Brooks and Heisman winner Charlie Ward. I got to see a legend....and I feel good about that.

For more on the Bobby Bowden legacy, click here.

And for the Florida State Football website click here.


rakeback said...

I think Bowden was past his prime, but when someone has done all that he did for not only the football team but to help turn boys into men, he deserved a lot better than FSU gave him.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

rakeback- The bottom line is FSU showed how NOT to do it regarding Bobby Bowden, and Penn State showed how to do it with Joe Paterno. Alums wanted Joe's job a few years ago when the program was slipping. The administration showed restraint and kept Paterno, and now they'll probably be playing a New Year's Day Bowl game....again!

Laker said...

Coach Bowden should of been able to decide we retired.He not only is a great coach,but he's also a great man.He's been gone from WVU for almost 35 years.But he still will do charity work that benefits West Virginia charities.I have met him and Terry several times at them.

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