Longtime Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden dies at 91

Bobby Bowden, the longtime Florida Point out football mentor who ranks 2nd all time in Division I wins, has died, the college announced Sunday morning.

He was 91.

“My father handed absent peacefully early this morning with all six of his small children and my mom listed here by his facet,” Bowden’s son Terry mentioned in a statement. “I could not have requested for a much better own mentor than my father. He was a fantastic spouse and father, who relied on his sturdy Christian religion to provide the basis for his life. I also was lucky to be elevated by a football mentor who experienced a reputation for coaching the correct way his whole occupation. He was admired by everybody who played for him or coached from him.”

Bobby Bowden was diagnosed with a terminal healthcare condition in July. He did not disclose what the problem was at the time, even though Terry later informed reporters that it was pancreatic cancer.

“I’ve usually tried using to serve God’s intent for my daily life, on and off the discipline, and I am ready for what is to occur,” Bobby Bowden mentioned in a assertion saying the situation. “My wife Ann and our household have been life’s biggest blessing. I am at peace.”

Bowden also dealt with what he named a “tough” bout of COVID-19 in 2020, which came a several days following returning to his Tallahassee house from a prolonged clinic continue to be for an infection in his leg.

“Florida Condition College has missing a legend in the passing of Bobby Bowden,” university president John Thrasher reported in a statement. “On behalf of anyone at FSU, Jean and I extend our deepest condolences to Ann and the Bowden loved ones. Coach Bowden designed a soccer dynasty and lifted the countrywide profile of Florida Point out College, and he did it with course and a sense of humor. Whilst he leaves an incredible legacy as a person of the finest football coaches in collegiate record, he also will be remembered for his excellent religion, his like of relatives and his mentorship of numerous younger people. He will be profoundly missed.”

A public funeral service will be held for Bowden on Saturday on Florida State’s campus. Community viewings will just take put at FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium on Friday and on the campus of Samford College, his alma mater, on Sunday.

Robert Cleckler Bowden, greater acknowledged as Bobby, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929. He was a sickly boy or girl, diagnosed with rheumatic fever and paying out a excellent deal of his youth in bed. It was then, listening to radio broadcasts, that Bowden designed a really like of soccer. He listened to Alabama video games on the radio — and even though football failed to get rid of Bowden, it undoubtedly led to his life’s contacting. With his health in check out, Bowden played football at Woodlawn High Faculty with desires of going on to fit up for the Crimson Tide.

And that he did — at quarterback, no significantly less — but love inevitably took precedence.

Alabama’s coverage at the time was that freshmen couldn’t get married, but Bowden genuinely required to marry his higher college sweetheart, Ann Estock. So he did, and he walked away from his Tide occupation as a end result.

He went on to perform quarterback for Howard College (now Samford College). He also performed baseball and ran observe.

Following graduating, Bowden got his to start with coaching gig as an assistant at Howard. He parlayed that into a different task, athletic director and head coach at two-year South Georgia College or university, which later on led him again to Howard as head mentor in 1959, wherever he’d coach until 1962.

His coaching prowess grew in that span, as did his wanderlust to coach bigger educational facilities.

His College Division (now termed Soccer Bowl Subdivision) commence was truly with the Seminoles, as large receivers mentor, from 1963 to ’65. He then went to West Virginia to provide as offensive coordinator from 1966 to ’69. He was named head coach in 1970 and had a 42-26 document with the Mountaineers.

The tragic Marshall airplane crash in 1970 afflicted Bowden greatly in his to start with calendar year as head mentor. He petitioned the NCAA to wear Marshall jerseys and enjoy their ultimate sport for them — but the NCAA reported no. Rather, the gamers included environmentally friendly crosses and “MU” to their helmets.

He said later on that Marshall required him to be its future head coach. But in 1976, Bowden went to Florida State, mainly simply because it was warmer in Tallahassee and nearer to his mom. His to start with year as head coach of the Seminoles wasn’t his best — they went 5-6 — but it was his only shedding record in his 34 seasons there. In 1982, the Seminoles obtained their 1st bowl invitation less than Bowden, which would lead to 28 consecutive bowl appearances and countrywide championships in 1993 and 1999. For 14 straight seasons, ending in 2000, the Seminoles gained at least 10 games and completed ranked in the top rated 5 of the AP poll.

His status as a Florida Condition legend — and as a legend in college soccer as a full — was founded in that span. He and Penn Point out mentor Joe Paterno were neck-and-neck at Nos. 1 and 2 on the winningest coaches listing. In 2009, Bowden introduced his retirement. The final years of his coaching profession weren’t stellar.

“Nothing lasts forever, does it? But I have experienced some superb decades in this article at Florida State, you know it,” Bowden stated when asserting his retirement. “Hadn’t performed as very good currently as I want I could have, but I’ve had superb a long time, no regrets.”

Present Seminoles coach Mike Norvell praised the character of Bowden on Sunday.

“Coach Bowden was just one of the finest coaches at any time, but extra than that he was an amazing gentleman,” Norvell said in a assertion. “He was a particular human getting who attained an enduring legacy for the reason that of his excellent heart, faith and values he lived. It was the honor of my life time to know him and over and above nearly anything I could dream to have a connection with him.”

“We lost a great person in Coach Bowden currently,” claimed Texas A&M mentor Jimbo Fisher, who took around at FSU as Bowden’s successor in 2010. “One particular of the very best gentlemen and coaches to ever walk the sideline. … Just a great human currently being with the lives he touched and the gamers he touched. That is his legacy. The previous time we talked, we talked about that. He lived a comprehensive daily life.”

Alabama head mentor Nick Saban spoke on Sunday of Bowden’s selflessness.

“Most likely [one of] the greatest ambassadors of all time,” Saban claimed. “He experienced achievements coaching but was also 1 of the greatest folks and established an exceptional instance for anyone in our career. Your example of getting a superior human being is a thing that can enable us all skillfully. He was not often about him. He was constantly about serving to other people. This is a incredibly unfortunate time for all of us, but Mentor Bowden leaves a legacy a good deal of us can continue to learn and increase from, and that will never ever be forgotten.”

Saban also shared a own anecdote involving Bowden and spoke fondly of the previous mentor in a assertion.

Previous FSU standout and Professional Soccer Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, now a coach himself, made use of Twitter to say goodbye to Bowden.

1 of Bowden’s coaching rivals, previous Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer, took to Twitter to share his condolences.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of Bobby Bowden,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a assertion. “The ACC, Florida Condition and the whole college athletics household have dropped a genuine giant. Coach Bowden was just one of the most thriving, humble and endearing persons who was also a single of the most adorned college or university soccer coaches in history.”

Bowden finished his career with a earn at the 2009 Gator Bowl. A couple of weeks afterwards, the NCAA stripped Florida State of 12 wins from 2006 and 2007 when FSU was uncovered to have dedicated athletic fraud. He’s acknowledged as obtaining 357 profession wins, trailing only Paterno’s 409.

Bowden and his spouse had 6 small children, which includes two who grew to become university football coaches, previous Clemson mentor Tommy Bowden and former Auburn coach Terry. A devout Christian, Bobby Bowden has a Fellowship of Christian Athletes award named for him. He is also the namesake of the Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award as portion of a soccer club in Birmingham. The 1st award of its sort went to Saban, with Bowden presenting the award himself.

Bowden was inducted into the University Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2006.