Dec. 1, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida State University Head Football Coach Bobby Bowden announced Tuesday that the Seminoles’ upcoming bowl game will be his last game. Bowden, who will complete his 34th season as coach at Florida State, will coach the Seminoles in the bowl game and finish his career as one of the winningest coaches in the history of major college football.
“The bowl game will be my last game as head football coach at Florida State,” said Bowden. “It’s been a great 34 seasons.
“I’d like to thank my wife Ann and my family for their love and support. There were a lot of nights when I was on the road and not at home at the dinner table. We all know that’s part of it.
“I’d also like to thank the coaches and their families who helped build the program into something that is special. You can’t have a successful program without players and we have been blessed to have young men who are winners both on and off the field. I want to thank them and their families for committing 4-5 years of their lives to me and to FSU.
“Finally, I’d like to thank the University and FSU fans who have supported the Florida State program. We’ve got one more game and I look forward to enjoying these next few weeks as the head football coach.”
Bowden was named National Coach of the Year six times (1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999), and a national award presented by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes bears his name. He led Florida State to national championships in 1993 and again in 1999, the latter being the first team in the history of the Associated Press poll to go wire-to-wire ranked No. 1.
Wetherell, who will retire from the presidency of Florida State when his successor is installed as president — perhaps within a few months — said Bowden’s “sterling personality and character” personified Florida State University.
“Bobby Bowden is not only one of the most outstanding college football coaches in history but also a great man who you would want as a mentor to your children,” Wetherell said.
“Every true Seminole fan appreciates all that he has done in service to the university and all that he has accomplished for its football program — two national championships, 12 ACC championships, 14 straight seasons among the Associated Press’ Top Five, two Heisman Trophy winners and a Rhodes Scholar, induction into the College Football Hall of Fame — but more than that, he has been an off-the-field mentor to so many young men looking to their future.”
Wetherell, who was one of those young men, said he hopes Florida State’s Athletics Department will plan a celebration and recognition for Bowden during next year’s football season.
In his own tribute to Bowden, Wetherell said:
“Bobby Bowden has served as our head football coach and inspirational `friend-raiser’ for more than 30 years. He led our football program to unprecedented success and established it among the nation’s elite for many years. He set records of achievement on the field that will probably never be equaled.
“Bobby Bowden contributed in many ways to the overall success and advancement of a young and growing university, and the entire Bowden family is also a major part of this success story.
“I played for Bobby Bowden 45 years ago, when I was a young man, and he was an assistant coach under Bill Peterson.
“The bond between player and coach is strong enough, but our relationship forged even more powerful bonds as we worked hard for the university’s advancement. With me and other presidents, Bobby Bowden helped raise public and private dollars to build some of the most impressive athletics facilities in the nation and to bring additional recognition to Florida State’s academic achievements.
“Millions of Americans could see the good work and academic contributions of our university through the window of national television –a window that winning football teams provide for their institutions.
“Bobby Bowden, in many ways, became the face of Florida State. It was his sterling personality and character that personified this university. And because his influence was so powerful, we were able to advance far beyond what many of us ever dreamed.”
About Bobby Bowden…
Born : November 8, 1929 in Birmingham, Ala.
High School : Woodlawn High, Birmingham, Ala.
College : Howard (now Samford) 1953
Collegiate Football Experience : University of Alabama (QB), freshman;
Howard (QB), sophomore-senior
Graduate Degree : Peabody College
Wife : The former Julia Ann Estock
Children : Robyn, Steve, Tommy, Terry, Ginger, Jeff
HEAD COACHING HONORS
1977 Southern Independent Coach of the Year
1979 National Coach of the Year (ABC-Chevrolet)
1979 Southern Independent Coach of the Year
1980 National Coach of the Year (Bobby Dodd)
1983 Inducted – Florida Sports Hall of Fame
1986 Inducted – Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
1987 Region II Coach of the Year
1991 National Coach of the Year (Walter Camp)
1992 Neyland Trophy Winner
1993 ACC Coach of the Year
1996 National Coach of the Year (Home Depot)
1997 ACC Coach of the Year
1999 National Coach of the Year (Home Depot)
1999 National Coach of the Decade Finalist (Home Depot)
1999 ESPN College Team of the Decade (any sport)
2006 Inducted – National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame
2008 NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award
Second winningest coach in major college football history with 388 career coaching victories
The only coach in the history of Division I-A football to compile 14 straight 10-win seasons (1987-2000)
Coached the Seminoles to consensus National Championships in 1993 and 1999
His 1999 National Championship team is the first in college football history to go wire-to-wire as the Associated Press’ No. 1 ranked team
Set NCAA records with 11 consecutive bowl victories (1985-95) and 14 straight bowl trips without a loss (1982-95)
Ranks first among active coaches for winning percentage in bowl games and has led the Seminoles to 27 straight bowl games – the longest current streak in the nation
Has guided FSU to 30 bowl appearances in 33 seasons, including 27 straight
Since 1993, Florida State has played in the national championship game five times (1993 Orange vs. Nebraska, 1996 Sugar vs. Florida, 1998 Fiesta vs. Tennessee, 1999 Sugar vs. Virginia Tech, and 2000 Orange vs. Oklahoma)
Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, FSU has reached one of the BCS bowl games six times
Patriarch of the first father-son duo to lead Division I-A programs, let alone to lead them at the same time
National Citizenship Award (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) named after Bobby Bowden in 2004
1954-55 Assistant Football Coach/Head Track Coach at Howard (now Samford)
1956-58 Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at South Georgia Junior College
1959-62 Head Football Coach at Samford College
1963-65 Assistant Coach (Receivers) at Florida State
1966-69 Offensive Coordinator at West Virginia
1970-75 Head Coach at West Virginia
1976- Head Coach at Florida State
What Others Are Saying
“Bobby has been a tough competitor. He has meant an awful lot to the universities he coached and to the game of football overall. He and his wife, Ann, have dedicated their lives with untold hours to better the teams and universities they cared so much about. They will be missed by the coaching profession and college football. Sue and I wish them well.”
– Penn State coach Joe Paterno
“There will be very few that will ever win as many games, but more impressive are his values and the impact he has had on those that have played for him and those that have had the privilege of working with him.”
“Coach Bowden leaves a legacy that will be missed not only at Florida State, but in the Atlantic Coast Conference and all across college football. He is a gentleman and a true sportsman and I consider it an honor to have him as part of the ACC family.”
– ACC Commissioner John Swofford
– Former Seminoles CB Deion Sanders
– Former Seminoles OL Jamie Dukes
– Georgia coach Mark Richt
– USC coach Pete Carroll