Oct. 21, 1999
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – When Bobby Bowden coaches against his son Saturday
night, Ann Bowden has an idea what she wants to happen.
“Deep down I’m a mom so I’m going to want them (Clemson) to look good,”
Ann Bowden said of son Tommy’s team. “(But) I feel like there is too much at
stake for us (Florida State) to lose this game.”
Sounds like Ann’s siding with her husband and his Seminoles, the nation’s
No. 1 team which will be trying to give Bowden career win No. 300 – a feat
accomplished by only four other major college coaches.
“There’s not a lot at stake for Tommy,” she said. “This is his first
Knowing Ann Bowden, who has raised six children while her husband became one
of the country’s most successful college coaches, her reaction is not
Bobby Bowden might say he has no interests other than football, but spending
time with his wife is very important. They go to the movies, to dinner, take
trips together, and still act like lovebirds.
“They amaze me, how well they get along,” Sue Hall, Bowden’s longtime
assistant, said. “You watch him when she walks into a room. His face just
brightens up. He’ll tell you he loves that woman. It’s inspiring to see
somebody like that at that age.”
All the attention on Saturday night’s game has been wearing on Ann Bowden.
She left on Tuesday for the North Carolina mountains for a few days of rest
before most of the clan, which includes 21 grandchildren, assembles Friday at
“It’s going to be so different from anything that has ever happened to
us,” she said. “I don’t think we’ll realize it until the time comes.”
Bobby Bowden began ascending through the coaching ranks at small, little
known schools in the South, shortly after eloping with 16-year-old Ann Estock
on April Fool’s Day in 1949. The couple had six children in 10 years. Three of
the four boys ended up coaching college football.
“We lived on concrete floors with space heaters in Army barracks, but I was
young and the kids were young and we were happy,” Ann Bowden said. “I am not
responsible for Bobby’s success, but I have allowed him to do whatever it is
that he needed to do to be successful.”
Bowden credits his wife for playing a large role in his success.
“She took care of the homefront even when I was there,” he said. “There
ain’t no doubt who ran the homefront.”
And it wasn’t easy for many years, especially with Bowden away much of the
time scouting or recruiting.
“In my younger years, I didn’t think I got equal time,” Ann Bowden said.
“There were years where I got very angry with him, because I didn’t think he
was interested enough in what was going on around the house.
“We went through plenty of rough times and I threatened to throw his
clothes out, wanting attention. That all passed. If you just wait it out,
things level out and they get better.”
The Bowdens arrived in Tallahassee in 1976 and still live in the same house
they bought for $120,000.
“We came here with nothing,” Ann Bowden said. “No money in the bank. No
Today, Bobby Bowden earns about $1.5 million per year.
“She’s getting her money’s worth now,” Tommy Bowden said.