Few coaches have had the impact on college football that Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden has. For more than thirty years Bowden led the Seminoles to great success. During his time at FSU, Bowden led the seminoles to national championships in 1993 and in 1999. Bowden won an amazing twelve ACC championships and continued to coach until he as eighty years old. His impact is undeniable and his legacy will live on forever.
Bowden’s career began as an assistant football coach and head track and field coach at Howard College. His coaching career included stops at South Georgia College, and West Virginia University. From there he finally moved to Florida State where he would remain for the remainder of his career. Bowden took over a program that was struggling and originally only planned to stay short term until a better job came. His plans quickly changed.
During his 34 years as FSU’s head coach Bowden only had one losing season–his first, in 1976. His best teams were his 1993 and 1999 teams. Both won the National Championship. The 1999 team went undefeated and the 1993 team only lost once. It’s widely regarded as the best in Florida State history. His overall career as a coach saw him complete 40 winning seasons. He coached Florida State to 14 straight seasons with 10 or more victories.
During his career Bowden earned several awards. In 1980 he was awarded Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, an award given to he Division I Football Bowl Subdivision head coach whose team excels on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. In 1992 he won the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award. He even had an award named after him. In 2010 the first ever Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award was given in his honor.
He had many great players go through the program. Many of them had successful NFL careers. Most would say he helped them become men.
Bowden is a committed Christian and credits his faith for his success in football. He was presented in 2004 with a special award by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The award was initiated by a former assistant and recognizes one college football player for achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Furthermore Bowden is an active philanthropist. In 2011, he received the Children’s Champion Award for Leadership Development. Given by the Children’s Hunger Fund, the award recognized Bowden’s philanthropic efforts.
Bobby Bowden has had a career worthy of great praise. He took a bad Florida State Football program and turned them into a consistent winner. He helped groom Jimbo Fisher and will be there for this year’s team in whatever capacity he is needed. He has held high standards both on and off the field and his legacy will be appreciated for many years to come.