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Coach Bobby Bowden passes away at 91 years of age

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FSU legendary head coach Bobby Bowden had an impact on the game of college football

1994 ORANGE BOWL

Legendary Florida State Seminoles football coach Bobby Bowden has passed away at 91 years of age. Coach Bowden is first thought of as a football coach, walking the sidelines of Doak Campbell Stadium in garnet and gold. But like many of the good ones, Coach Bowden has much more to many more people.

Coach Bowden was so much more than just a football coach and foil to guys like Steve Spurrier and Dennis Erickson. When coaching needed a great man, Coach Bowden was ready for the role. He dadgum’ed and by-golly’d the ‘Noles to two national championships, one in 1993, and the other in 1999. He also coached two Heisman Trophy winners in Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke.

Coach Bowden mentored young coaches like Chuck Amato, Manny Diaz, and Mark Richt who went on to become successful coaches in their own right. I have played with and coached with guys who have played for Bobby Bowden. I was even mentored by a former Bowden player at FSU who taught me professionalism, hard work, humility, and the meaning of the game. I think that’s when you know you’ve made an impact, when your positive aura has reached out to so many more branches off of your tree.

Without Coach Bowden I’m not sure if the Miami-FSU rivalry would have been as fantastic as it has been. Before Coach Bowden the ‘Noles were an after thought. Much like Howard Schnellenberger did at Miami, Coach Bowden brought the program into the national spotlight. The difference was, he stayed. Of his 377 career wins, 304 came at FSU.

There were many games that were all-time classics between Miami and FSU, and while the UM coach kept rotating, the FSU sideline was walked by one man. Think of the all out battle in 1987 where the ‘Canes roared to a comeback victory. There was of course the Wide Right Trilogy in ‘91, ‘92, and 2000. These games spanned decades, technologies, fashion statements and star players.

Coach Bowden guided some of the biggest names in college football history in Ward and Weinke, but also Ron Simmons, Deion Sanders, Peter Warrick, Peter Boulware, Derrick Brooks, Marvin Jones, Warrick Dunn, and Walter Jones. Coach Bowdens Seminoles teams had an absolute stranglehold on the ACC from 1992 through the 2005 season either coming in 1st place, tied for 1st and 2nd place only twice.

Coach Bowden’s sons also became well known coaches in Tommy Bowden (Tulane, Clemson), Terry Bowden (Auburn, North Alabama, Akron, ULM) and Jeff Bowden (FSU, N. Alabama, and Akron assistant coach). Family meant a lot to Coach Bowden and he tells many stories about his family, wife, and kids. Bobby Bowden will always been remembered as a classic, a class act, and a dadgum great ball coach.