Longtime Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden dies at 91

The college football world lost one of its legends on Monday morning when former Miami and Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden passed away at the age of 91. A legend in the college football world, Bowden turned around Florida State’s program from its heyday as a one-win team into a powerhouse. The university is already planning a celebration of his life.

The legendary coach Bobby Bowden, who has spent 45 seasons as the head coach at Florida State, died on Saturday at the age of 91.

Bobby Bowden, the famed coach of the Florida State Seminoles, has died at the age of 91.

Bobby Bowden, the veteran Florida State football coach who is second all-time in Division I victories, died on Sunday morning, according to the school.

He was 91 years old when he died.

Bowden was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness in July. He didn’t say what ailment he was suffering from at the time, but his son Terry subsequently informed reporters it was pancreatic cancer.

“On and off the field, I’ve always tried to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, and I’m prepared for what’s ahead,” Bowden said in a statement revealing his condition. “The biggest gift in my life has been my wife Ann and our family. I am content.”

Bowden also battled with a “severe” case of COVID-19 in 2020, which struck only days after he returned home to Tallahassee following a long hospital stay for a leg infection.

“With the death of Bobby Bowden, Florida State University has lost an icon,” university president John Thrasher said in a statement. “Jean and I, on behalf of everyone at FSU, send our heartfelt sympathies to Ann and the Bowden family. Coach Bowden created a football dynasty and elevated Florida State University’s national image, and he did it with class and a sense of humour. He will be remembered for his tremendous faith, love of family, and mentoring of many young people, in addition to his amazing legacy as one of the greatest football coaches in college history. He’ll be terribly missed.”

With 357 victories, Bobby Bowden is second all-time in Division I victories. AP Images/Jeffrey Boan

Bobby Cleckler Bowden, often known as Bobby, was born in 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a sickly kid who was diagnosed with rheumatic disease and spent most of his childhood in bed. Bowden acquired an interest in football while listening to radio broadcasts at the time. On the radio, he listened to Alabama games, and although football didn’t heal Bowden, it did lead to his life’s calling. With his health restored, Bowden returned to Woodlawn High School to play football in the hopes of one day suiting up for the Crimson Tide.

And he did it, too — as quarterback, no less — but love ultimately won out.

Alabama’s regulation at the time prohibited freshmen from marrying, but Bowden was determined to marry Ann Estock, his high school love. As a consequence, he resigned from his position with the Tide.

He moved on to Howard College to play quarterback (now Samford University). He also ran track and played baseball.

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Bowden earned his first coaching job as an assistant at Howard after graduation. He used that experience to get a position as athletic director and head coach at two-year South Georgia College, which brought him back to Howard in 1959 as head coach, where he stayed until 1962.

During that time, his coaching abilities improved, as did his desire to teach bigger institutions.

From 1963 through 1965, he was the wide receivers coach for the Seminoles in the University Division (now called Football Bowl Subdivision). From 1966 through 1969, he was the offensive coordinator at West Virginia. He was appointed head coach in 1970 and led the Mountaineers to a 42-26 record.

Bowden’s first year as head coach was greatly influenced by the terrible Marshall aircraft disaster in 1970. He asked the NCAA to allow him to wear Marshall jerseys and participate in their championship game, but the NCAA declined. Instead, the players adorned their helmets with green crosses and the letters “MU.”

Marshall wanted him to be the next head coach, he claimed afterwards. Bowden transferred to Florida State in 1976, mostly because Tallahassee was warmer and closer to his mother. Although his first year as head coach of the Seminoles was not his finest (the team finished 5-6), it was his lone losing season in 34 years at FSU. Under Bowden, the Seminoles received their first bowl invitation in 1982, and went on to win 28 consecutive bowl games and national titles in 1993 and 1999. The Seminoles won at least 10 games and finished in the top five of the AP poll for 14 consecutive seasons, ending in 2000.

During that time, he cemented his reputation as a Florida State great — and a legend in college football in general. On the list of winningest coaches, he and Penn State coach Joe Paterno were neck and neck at Nos. 1 and 2. Bowden announced his retirement in 2009. His coaching career had a rough patch in the past several years.

“Is there anything that lasts forever? But, as you know, I’ve had some fantastic years here at Florida State “When Bowden announced his retirement, he stated. “I haven’t done as well as I would have liked in recent years, but I’ve lived a great life with no regrets.”

On Sunday, current Seminoles coach Mike Norvell lauded Bowden’s character.

“Coach Bowden was not just one of the best coaches of all time, but he was also a wonderful guy,” said Norvell in a statement. “He was a unique human being who left an indelible mark on the world with his great heart, beliefs, and ideals. Knowing him was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege, and having a connection with him was beyond my wildest dreams.”

Deion Sanders, a former Florida State star and Pro Football Hall of Famer who is now a coach, used Twitter to bid Bowden farewell.

We have lost a legend today. Bobby was a wonderful friend and mentor to me, and his influence extended well beyond the coaching industry. Ann and the whole Bowden family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Coach Bowden, may you rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/om6LRmkkIo

August 8, 2021 — Urban Meyer (@CoachUrbanMeyer)

Former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer, one of Bowden’s coaching adversaries, expressed his sympathies on Twitter.

God bless the Bowden Family,Friends & Loved ones. My Prayers are with u. I’ve lost 1 of the best coaches I’ve ever had. pic.twitter.com/aNvkMJ704c

August 8, 2021 — COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders)

After Bowden formally resigned, the Seminoles were handed over to new head coach Jimbo Fisher, who had been chosen his replacement in 2007. Bowden’s career came to a close with a victory in the 2009 Gator Bowl. When Florida State was discovered to have committed athletic fraud a few weeks later, the NCAA stripped the Seminoles of 12 victories from 2006 and 2007. He is credited with 357 career victories, second only to Paterno’s 409 victories.

Bowden and his wife have six children, including former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden and former Auburn coach Terry Bowden, both college football coaches. Bobby Bowden is a devoted Christian who has an award named after him from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As member of a football club in Birmingham, he is also the namesake of the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award. Alabama coach Nick Saban received the first honor of its kind. It was given to Saban by Bowden.

In 2006, Bowden was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Florida State University announced that Bobby Bowden, the winningest coach in college football history, has passed away at the age of 91. The legendary coach spent more than 50 years as a football coach, including his most recent tenure at Florida State, where he led the program to two national championships in the early 2000s.. Read more about bobby bowden net worth and let us know what you think.

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