Bobby Bowden brought Florida State football from the bottom of the standings to the perennial strong team, winning two national championships at the age of 91.
Bowden coached at FSU from 1976 to 2009, won the national championship after the 1993 and 1999 seasons, and ranked in the top five in football polls at the end of the season for 14 consecutive seasons.
Bobby Bowden wrote in his 2010 book “Calling the Coach”:
“I never liked trophies and championship titles, because I know these achievements will only last until you lose the next game.”
In April 2021, Bowden was awarded the first Florida Medal of Freedom by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Bowden has won two national championships but was repeatedly defeated by his state rivals Miami and Florida.
Bowden is known for his sociable personality and wit, but behind his humor is an enthusiastic coach and strict supervisor. He rarely swears, his level of profanity is occasional “honest person”. The Miami Herald referred to Bowden as “someone like Dagum” in a column in the early 1980s.
At the age of 13, he was diagnosed with rheumatic fever, stayed in bed for one year, and was forced to lie on his back for six months. The doctor told Bowden’s family that his heart was enlarged.
During that time, Bowden was fascinated by World War II and military history.
Bowden married Julia Ann Estock in Rising Fawn, Georgia, on April 1, 1949, and eloped across the state line. Bowden met her at a barbecue when she was 14 years old and called her “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
In 1963, Bowden joined Florida State University as an assistant. He moved to West Virginia as the offensive coordinator of the Climbers and was promoted to head coach in 1970.
As a religious figure:
Bowden has conducted thousands of sermons over the years, starting with a sermon at his hometown church, Ruhama Baptist, in 1953.
Bowden’s sons also became coaches. Terry Bowden won his first 20 games at Auburn University in the 1993-94 season. Tommy Bowden coached at Duran and Clemson and faced his father in the first college football game on October 23, 1999, which was played by a father and son as opposing coaches. Bobby Bowden won the “Bowden Bowl”, beating Clemson 17-14.
“I hope that the most important thing people say to me is that Bobby Bowden serves God’s life.”
According to the Gainesville Sun, a member of the South Carolina band once wrote that Bowden was the reason he chose Florida State University as a graduate school.
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