Bobby Bowden, the folksy Hall of Fame manager who built Florida State into an unprecedented assemblage shot dynasty, has died. He was 91.
Bobby’s son, Terry, confirmed to The Associated Press that his begetter died astatine location successful Tallahassee, Florida, surrounded by household aboriginal Sunday morning.
“It was genuinely peaceful,” Terry Bowden said successful a substance connection to AP.
Bobby Bowden announced connected July 21 helium had a terminal unwellness that Terry Bowden aboriginal said was pancreatic cancer.
“I’ve ever tried to service God’s intent for my life, connected and disconnected the field, and I americium prepared for what is to come,” Bowden, a devout Christian, said astatine the time. “My wife, Ann, and our household person been life’s top blessing. I americium astatine peace.”
Bowden was beloved by Seminoles fans, respected by his peers and passim his beingness 1 of the astir accessible stars successful assemblage football. His location fig was listed successful the Tallahassee telephone publication for years.
With Southern charm and wit, Bowden piled up 377 wins during his 40 years arsenic a large assemblage coach, from tiny Samford — his alma mater, past known arsenic Howard College — to West Virginia and yet astatine Florida State, wherever helium went 315-98-4. The Seminoles were a unit during his 34 seasons arsenic coach, winning 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and nationalist titles successful 1993 and 1999.
Florida State had an unmatched tally of 14 consecutive seasons (1987-2000) finishing ranked successful the apical 5 of The Associated Press assemblage shot canvass nether Bowden.
“Florida State University has mislaid a fable successful the passing of Bobby Bowden,” assemblage President John Thrasher said successful a statement. “Coach Bowden built a shot dynasty and raised the nationalist illustration of Florida State University, and helium did it with people and a consciousness of humor.”
Bowden retired pursuing the 2009 play with a Gator Bowl triumph implicit West Virginia successful Florida State’s 28th consecutive postseason appearance, a triumph that gave him his 33rd consecutive winning season. However, a period aft helium resigned, the NCAA stripped Florida State of victories successful 10 sports due to the fact that of an world cheating ungraded successful 2006 and ‘07 involving 61 athletes.
Still, lone Penn State’s Joe Paterno is credited with winning much games (409) arsenic a large assemblage shot coach. Bowden’s triumph full ranks 4th crossed each divisions successful assemblage shot history.
Bowden was replaced successful 2010 by his violative coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, who had been Bowden’s replacement-in-waiting.
“He’s 1 of the large quality beings that’s ever coached and 1 of the large coaches that’s ever coached,” Fisher said.
Bowden won the nationalist title successful 1993 with Heisman Trophy-winning backmost Charlie Ward and again successful 1999 with his 2nd Heisman winner, backmost Chris Weinke, and All-American receiver Peter Warrick.
The Seminoles were a contender to triumph the rubric each play for much than a decade. Florida State mislaid nationalist title games against Florida, Tennessee and Oklahoma and narrowly missed retired connected the playing for titles successful respective different seasons due to the fact that of losses to archrival Miami.
Bowden erstwhile quipped that his headstone would read, “But helium played Miami,” a one-liner that came the time aft the Hurricanes escaped with a 17-16 triumph successful 1991 erstwhile the Seminoles missed a tract extremity wide close successful the last seconds. Miami besides won successful akin manner successful 2002 erstwhile a field-goal effort went wide left, overmuch to Bowden’s chagrin.
Both coaches who birthed assemblage shot powerhouses successful Florida during the 1980s person died this year. Howard Schnellenberger, who led Miami to its archetypal nationalist title successful 1983, died successful March astatine 87.
Florida State dominated the ACC nether Bowden, winning championships successful 12 of its archetypal 14 seasons aft joining the league successful 1992.
“Bobby Bowden has meant everything to Florida State athletics and truthful overmuch to assemblage shot successful general,” Florida State diversion manager David Coburn said. “He is simply a portion of the bosom and psyche of FSU, but it goes beyond adjacent that — helium is simply a large portion of the past of the game.”
Bowden was besides the patriarch of assemblage football’s astir colorful coaching family. Son Tommy Bowden had a 90-49 grounds astatine Tulane and Clemson, and lad Terry Bowden was 47-17-1 astatine Auburn. Another son, Jeff, served 13 years coaching wide receivers for his begetter astatine Florida State and six seasons arsenic violative coordinator earlier helium resigned successful 2006.
Jeff Bowden’s clip astatine Florida State was rocky and emblematic of the program’s autumn disconnected successful the aboriginal 2000s. Florida State’s discourtesy had slumped to its lowest accumulation successful a 4th period and Jeff Bowden was paid $537,500 to resign by boosters.
Bobby Bowden near West Virginia to instrumentality implicit a Florida State programme successful 1976 that had produced conscionable 4 wins the 3 erstwhile seasons. The Seminoles went 5-6 successful Bowden’s archetypal twelvemonth and ne'er again experienced a losing play nether a antheral who said helium prepared for shot games similar World War II generals prepared for battles.
“You look akin tasks of motivation, preparation, teamwork, discipline,” Bowden said. “I astir apt get the astir restitution retired of putting successful the strategies and watching them play out.”
By 1979, Bowden had Florida State positioned for 1 of the large runs successful the annals of assemblage football.
Led by All American chemoreceptor defender Ron Simmons, the Seminoles enjoyed an 11-0 regular play but mislaid to Oklahoma successful the Orange Bowl. In 1993, contempt a precocious gaffe astatine Notre Dame, Florida State won its archetypal nationalist rubric aft astir getting determination successful 1987, 1988, 1991 and 1992.
Bowden’s lone cleanable play came successful 1999 erstwhile the Seminoles became the archetypal squad to spell wire-to-wire successful The Associated Press rankings, No. 1 from the preseason to finish.
“The archetypal title was much of a relief,” Bowden said. “I deliberation I was capable to bask the 2nd 1 a small more.”
Success besides brought a glaring spotlight and Bowden’s programme was touched by ungraded connected a fewer occasions. The schoolhouse was enactment connected NCAA probation for 5 years aft respective players successful 1993 accepted escaped shoes and different sporting goods from a section store. The occurrence led erstwhile Florida manager Steve Spurrier to dub FSU “Free Shoes University.”
Bowden prided himself connected adapting to the times and giving players a 2nd chance, but critics said helium was brushed connected subject with an oculus connected winning games.
“If abbreviated hairsbreadth and bully manners won shot games, Army and Navy would play for the nationalist title each year,” Bowden retorted.
Randy Moss, 1 of the astir talented athletes to be Florida State, ne'er played a down for the Seminoles and was kicked retired of schoolhouse aft a redshirt play for smoking marijuana. In 1999, Warrick was caught successful a buying scam that led to his suspension for 2 games and astir apt outgo him the Heisman Trophy that year.
“There’s lone astir 6 inches that turns that halo into a noose,” Bowden was fond of saying during the bully days, erstwhile helium was often called “Saint Bobby” by the Florida State faithful.
The Seminoles won 10 oregon much games successful 18 of Bowden’s 34 seasons astatine Florida State, but were a comparatively mortal 74-42 connected the tract from 2001-09.
The cheating ungraded that led to the nonaccomplishment of a twelve wins from Bowden’s last resume took spot successful an online euphony past people from the autumn of 2006 done summertime 2007. The NCAA said immoderate athletes were provided with answers to exams and successful immoderate cases, had papers typed for them.
Despite those pugnacious days adjacent the extremity of his career, Bowden stayed successful the nationalist oculus aft retirement, penning a book, making speeches and going nationalist with his attraction for prostate crab successful 2007. His fearfulness of retiring from coaching resulted successful portion from the decease of his longtime idol, erstwhile Alabama manager Paul “Bear” Bryant, who died wrong weeks of leaving the sidelines.
“After you retire, there’s lone 1 large lawsuit left,” Bowden often said.
Bowden stayed progressive into his 80s, yet slowing down implicit the past twelvemonth oregon so. He was hospitalized successful October 2020 aft investigating affirmative for COVID-19. The trial came a fewer days aft helium returned location from a agelong infirmary enactment for a limb infection.
Born Nov. 8, 1929, successful Birmingham, Alabama, Robert Cleckler Bowden overcame rheumatic fever arsenic a kid to backmost Woodlawn High School successful Birmingham, past attended Alabama for a semester earlier transferring backmost to his hometown Howard University, wherever helium starred astatine quarterback.
He joined kid his puerility sweetheart, Ann, and they stayed unneurotic for 72 years.
Bowden built the Florida State programme by scheduling the toughest opponents helium could find, and he’d play them anywhere, usually astatine their stadium. He was dubbed “King of the Road” successful 1981 aft playing consecutive roadworthy games astatine Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and LSU — and winning 3 of the five.
His daring play-calling besides earned him the nickname Riverboat Gambler successful immoderate quarters. Bowden’s astir celebrated instrumentality play came successful 1988 astatine Clemson. He sent his punt squad onto the tract with 1:33 near successful a necktie crippled with a fourth-and-4 and the shot astatine Florida State’s 21. Florida State’s punter leaped precocious into the aerial and acted arsenic if helium were chasing down a precocious drawback portion the upback took the shot and slipped it betwixt his legs wherever LeRoy Butler grabbed it and raced 78 yards to the Clemson 1 to acceptable up the winning tract goal.
“We were determined idiosyncratic was going to triumph that game,” Bowden said aft the “Puntrooskie.”
Through Bowden’s career, Florida State won games successful galore of the nation’s toughest stadiums, including astatine Michigan, Southern California and, of course, rivals Florida and Miami. In 1987, the Seminoles crushed Big Ten champion Michigan State 31-3 astatine East Lansing and whipped Southeastern Conference champion Auburn connected its location field, 34-6.
Bowden besides was considered 1 of the champion handlers of large idiosyncratic talents, recruiting and processing the likes of Simmons, Ward, Weinke, Warrick, Butler and Deion Sanders, who earned the nickname “Prime Time” during his days arsenic a Seminole.
“God bless the Bowden Family, Friends & Loved ones,” Sanders posted connected Twitter. “My Prayers are with u. I’ve mislaid 1 of the champion coaches I’ve ever had.”
Florida State’s recruiting classes were astir ever among the apical nationally. By the 1990s, the Seminoles poured prima endowment into the NFL connected an yearly basis, including 4 of the apical 19 picks successful the 2006 draught the aforesaid twelvemonth Bowden was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Florida authorities said ceremonial arrangements for Bowden were pending.
Bowden is survived by woman Ann; sons Terry, Tommy, Jeff and Steve; and daughters Robyn Hines and Ginger Madden.
AP Sports Writer John Zenor successful Alabama, AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo successful New York and erstwhile AP Sports Deputy Editor John Affleck contributed to this report.