Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A True Legend Steps Aside

The terms legend and legendary are thrown around an awful lot. In some cases their use could be debatable but I defy anyone to dispute the fact that Bobby Bowden is a true legend in the world of college football. On Tuesday Coach Bowden agreed to retire from the program that he built at Florida State after the year ending bowl game and in doing so will close the book on perhaps the greatest coaching career in the history of college sports.

Please don't let recent academic problems and a few down seasons tarnish the reputation of the man who turned FSU from an also ran to a feared national champion. Bobby Bowden is a great coach, a fantastic leader, and mentor to his players but he also set an example as a man of faith for all to admire. He should be remembered as such.
For those who may only want to look back at the past few years of on the field performance let me refresh your memory of a few things:

  • 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)
  • 12 ACC Championships since the school joined the conference in 1992
  • 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

These superlatives only begin to scratch the surface of the impact on the game that Coach Bowden has had. He was an innovator who was not afraid to take his Seminoles anywhere to play anyone anytime but I bet he will be remembered most for his charm, wit, and his insistence on doing things his way. The "Bowden Way". Coach Bowden you will be missed on the sidelines and in the lives of all the young men who you were a father figure to during all those years. A statue (like yours that my son and I are pictured in front of) is not enough recognition for all you have done. On behalf of Seminoles everywhere we say thank you for all you have done throughout the years. There will never be another. Thank you Coach.



The AbsolutGator said...

Any time you thought of FSU, you had to think of Bobby Bowden...they should be listed as synonyms in the thesaurus from now to enternity. He has been an incredible coach and, at the same time, the cause of much frustration for us Gator fans (well not the last several years, but...).

Thanks for the memories Bobby! You will be missed and always thought of admirably...dadgummit!

Karen said...

LOL. I actually know a lot about The Bowdens becuase my dad is HUGE Auburn fan. They are an interesting and respectable family. And clearly very talented.

But, Doc, Biased much? ;-) LOL

jennifer said...

I'm with you on Coach Bowden. He is a great man and he had a prestigious career. All the best to Coach Bowden!

Four Dinners said...

Oh God!!! American Football.


I do quite like American Football.

When it first appeared on the UK TV screens I decided (on a whim) to cheer on The Dolphins.

They duly obliged by winning the Super Bowl that year - thus establishing me as the only officionado of the game in a twenty mile...nay... 40 mile radius of my home.

I really do like the game but pleeeeease.

It is not, and has never been, 'football'.

Football is David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo and, further back, Pele and Franz Beckenbaur.

'Soccer' as you so quaintly call it IS football.

That isn't to say your game is not without merit.

I DO like it.

Mind you, it was very amusing when The British Lions Rugby Team - a game that is far more resonant of American Football - requested to play the Superbowl Champs.

One game of American Football and one game of Rugby.

The Superbowl Champs declined on the grounds that they couldn't wear 'padding' for the 'rugby' game.

'Nuff said...;-)

rakeback said...

I think Bowden was past his prime, but when someone has done all that he did for not only the football team but to help turn boys into men, he deserved a lot better than FSU gave him.

Mandy said...

What an amazing tribute. I think you summed it all up. I admit, it is a bit sad to see him go out on a low note, but it in no way diminishes all that he accomplished at Florida State. I do not think it is a record that will be matched anytime soon, if ever. He is a true legend in every meaning and spirit of the word. Well said.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

He was a great coach. He always seemed like such a down to earth kinda guy, too.

Jay said...

Bowden was a hell of a coach. I guess we could argue about off the field problems and scandals, but why? I think everyone gets judged by the good vs bad measurement. And for Bowden the good definitely outweighs the bad. By a lot.

Anonymous said...

Well said Shane. He leaves behind a great football legacy. I still don't like the fact that the 1993 title was essentially a "Lifetime Achievement Award", but he coached some great players. It's impossible not to like Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks if you're a real football fan and some of those games of the 80s and 90s were true classics.

For the guy ranting about soccer being the "real football", you lost all credibility when you said that "football is Beckham". Beckham's face should be the international sign for choking. No real soccer fan views him as anything more than a role player. At least reference Gerrard or Lampard if you're going to mention a real English soccer player.

- Ray P.

Doc said...

Four Dinners you crack me up ... You and your silly soccer. LOL!

Anyway... I just wanted to pay tribute in some small way to the departing legend Bobby Bowden. Thanks everyone for your comments.