During his time at Florida State, Bowden led FSU to an Associated Press and Coaches Poll National Title in 1993 and a BCS National Championship in 1999, as well as twelve Atlantic Coast Conference championships since FSU joined the conference in 1991. After a difficult 2009 season and amid questioning fans, Bowden stepped down, just weeks after his 80th birthday. He was allowed to make his final coaching appearance in the 2010 Gator Bowl game on January 1, 2010, with a 33–21 victory over his former program, West Virginia.
On March 6, 2009, NCAA ruling required Florida State to "vacate wins for any games in which an ineligible player participated", threatening to remove as many as fourteen of Bowden's wins from the 2006 and 2007 seasons in relation to an academic scandal. Florida State appealed the ruling, but the NCAA upheld it on January 5, 2010. Upon final investigation by Florida State University it was determined that Bowden was to vacate 12 wins, bringing his final career record to 377–129–4.
Bowden pictured in 2007
|Born||November 8, 1929|
|Position(s)||Quarterback, running back|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1954–1955||Howard (AL) (assistant)|
|1956–1958||South Georgia State College|
|1963–1965||Florida State (WR)|
|1966–1969||West Virginia (OC)|
|Head coaching record|
*12 wins vacated. (Bowden has a total of 411 wins as head coach. His 22 wins from South Georgia State College are also not counted by the NCAA)
*1 win vacated
|Accomplishments and honors|
|2 National (1993, 1999)|
12 ACC (1992–2000, 2002–2003, 2005)
2 ACC Atlantic Division (2005, 2008)
|Bobby Dodd COY (1980)|
Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award (1991)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (2011)
|College Football Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006 (profile)
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Bowden spent a portion of his childhood ill in bed. Bowden is the son of Bob Bowden and Sunset (née Cleckler) Bowden. When he was 13 years old, Bowden was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. After a six-month hospital stay, he was confined to his bed at home for just over a year with nothing more than his imagination to pass the time. It was listening to World War II reports on the radio that began Bowden's interest in the war, an interest he still has to this day. It was also around this time that his love for football increased, as he would listen to University of Alabama football on Saturday mornings.
Bowden was an outstanding football player at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, and went on to play for the University of Alabama as a quarterback, fulfilling a lifelong dream to play for the Crimson Tide. He then returned to Birmingham and married his high school sweetheart, Ann Estock, on April 1, 1949. Today, the couple have six children and 21 grandchildren. Bobby transferred to Howard College (now known Samford University), where he played football, baseball, ran track and became a brother in Pi Kappa Alpha. In his junior year he was elected president of Pi Kappa Alpha. His senior year, he was reelected to the presidency as well as captain of the football team where he garnered All-American honors at quarterback. The Howard College faculty nominated him for Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges in recognition of his academic and athletic leadership. Bowden graduated from Howard in 1953.
Bowden served as an assistant football coach and head track and field coach at Howard College currently in the FCS football division) in Birmingham, Alabama from 1954–55. He left his alma mater to become Athletic Director as well as head football, baseball, and basketball coach at South Georgia College from 1956 to 1958. After a losing basketball season Bowden fired himself as head coach. Bowden then returned to Howard as head coach, where he compiled a 31–6 record between 1959 and 1962. In 1962, Bowden went to Florida State University as an assistant coach under Head Coach Bill Peterson. Three other coaching legends who worked under Peterson during this time were Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Don James. Bowden left Florida State in 1965 to go to West Virginia University as an assistant under Jim Carlen. When Carlen left following the 1969 season to become head coach at Texas Tech, Bowden replaced him. Bowden then compiled a 42–26 record at WVU before returning to FSU as head coach in 1976.
During Bowden's first year as head coach at WVU, the football team of the state's other top-division school, Marshall University, were killed in a plane crash. He asked NCAA permission to wear Marshall jerseys and play Marshall's final game of the 1970 season against Ohio, but was denied. In memory of the victims of the crash, Mountaineers players put green crosses and the initials "MU" on their helmets. Bowden allowed Marshall's new head coach Jack Lengyel and his assistants access to game film and playbooks to acquaint themselves with the veer offense, a variation of the option offense which aids teams with weak offensive lines. Lengyel credits Bowden with helping the young Thundering Herd recover. Bowden reportedly became emotional while viewing the movie We Are Marshall, and has said that he was the original candidate for the Marshall head coaching job vacated by crash victim Rick Tolley.
Bowden became the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles because the climate was warmer than in Morgantown, and because Tallahassee was closer to Birmingham, Alabama, where his mother and mother-in-law both lived. The team had a 4–29 record over the previous three seasons, and he planned to stay only briefly before taking a better job, perhaps as head coach at Alabama.
Bowden became very successful very quickly at Florida State. By his second year Bowden had to deny many rumors that he would leave for another job; the team went 9-2, compared to the four wins total in the three seasons before Bowden. He said that he would be content to finish his career at Florida State, however, and reportedly told another athletic-department employee that he would "never coach anywhere north of Tallahassee". During 34 years as head coach he had only one losing season–his first, in 1976–and declined head coaching job offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons. From 1987 to 2000, the Seminoles finished every season with at least 10 wins and in the top 5 of the Associated Press College Football Poll, and won the national championship in 1993 and 1999. The team was particularly dominant after joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1992, winning or sharing nine consecutive conference titles from 1992 to 2000, and only losing two conference games in that stretch.
Bowden's tenure crested with a third consecutive appearance in the national championship game after the 2000 season, a loss to Oklahoma in the 2001 Orange Bowl. They opened the following season with a shocking 41-9 loss to North Carolina, only the third loss they had ever suffered in ACC play. They would go on to finish 8-4, the first time they had lost that many games in 15 years. From then on, Bowden would only notch one more appearance in the top 10 of a final media poll.
Bowen is not the only member of his family to have coached Division I-A football. His son Tommy Bowden was the head coach at Clemson University. Another son, Terry Bowden, was the head coach at Auburn University, where he was the 1993 Coach of the Year. A third son, Jeff Bowden, was the offensive coordinator at Florida State. All three Bowden men who were head coaches have achieved an undefeated season: Terry in 1993 at Auburn; Tommy in 1998 at Tulane; and Bobby in 1999 at Florida State. Bobby's 1993 and 1999 Florida State teams were the only ones to win a national championship, however.
As both Florida State and Clemson are in the same division of the Atlantic Coast Conference for football, the two teams played each other every year from 1999 through 2007 in a game that became known as the "Bowden Bowl". Their 1999 meeting was the first time in Division I-A history that a father and a son met as opposing head coaches in a football game. Bobby held the edge in the series 5–4, with all four losses within the last five games. Tommy Bowden's four wins in the series remain the only times a son has ever beaten his father when facing off as head coach in any of America's four major sports.
One Bowden Bowl was scheduled between Auburn and Florida State for 1999 when Terry Bowden was the coach at Auburn. However, Terry's midseason resignation in 1998 ended the possibility of a Bowden Bowl. Another Bowden Bowl was scheduled between Clemson and Florida State in 2008, but Tommy Bowden's resignation halfway through the year ended the Bowden Bowls. Florida State beat Clemson in what would have been the 2008 Bowden Bowl on Bobby Bowden's 79th birthday, earning him his 380th career win.
Bowden was awarded the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award for 1980. He received the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award for 1991. In 1992 Coach Bowden received the United States Sports Academy's Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award in recognition of his outstanding achievement as a coach.
On March 21, 2010, the Over the Mountain Touchdown Club of Birmingham, Alabama presented the first annual Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award, named in honor of Bowden and the contributions that he made during his career. The award recognizes a coach each year with unmatched success on and off of the field in the same attributes that Bowden showed throughout his career: perseverance, attitude, integrity, and determination. University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban was the first recipient of the award, and it was presented by Bowden himself. The award is presented each year after national signing day and before the commencement of Spring practice.
In 2004, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes presented the first of what is now a yearly award in Bowden's name. The award was initiated by former Bowden assistant coach Vince Gibson and former Bowden player Vernon Brinson. It honors one college football player for his achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community. In 2013, the Seminole Tribe of Florida became the official sponsor of the award. The Seminole Tribe of Florida Bobby Bowden Student Athlete of the Year Award is presented each year prior to the College Football Playoff (CFP) national title.
In 2011, in recognition of his philanthropic efforts with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bowden received the Children's Champion Award for Leadership Development from the charitable organization Children's Hunger Fund.
In his 44 seasons as a head coach, Bowden had 40 winning seasons (including 33 consecutive at Florida State), and 36 Division 1-A winning seasons. During the period 1987–2000, Bowden coached Florida State to 14 straight seasons with 10 or more victories, and his team had a final ranking of fourth or better in both of the major polls.
|Howard Bulldogs (NCAA College Division Independent) (1959–1962)|
|West Virginia Mountaineers (NCAA University Division / Division I independent) (1970–1975)|
|1972||West Virginia||8–4||L Peach|
|1975||West Virginia||9–3||W Peach||17||20|
|Florida State Seminoles (NCAA Division I / I-A independent) (1976–1991)|
|1977||Florida State||10–2||W Tangerine||11||14|
|1979||Florida State||11–1||L Orange||8||6|
|1980||Florida State||10–2||L Orange||5||5|
|1982||Florida State||9–3||W Gator||10||13|
|1983||Florida State||8–4 (7–5) ^||W Peach|
|1984||Florida State||7–3–2||T Florida Citrus||19||17|
|1985||Florida State||9–3||W Gator||13||15|
|1986||Florida State||7–4–1||W All-American||20|
|1987||Florida State||11–1||W Fiesta||2||2|
|1988||Florida State||11–1||W Sugar||3||3|
|1989||Florida State||10–2||W Fiesta||2||3|
|1990||Florida State||10–2||W Blockbuster||4||4|
|1991||Florida State||11–2||W Cotton||4||4|
|Florida State Seminoles (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1992–2009)|
|1992||Florida State||11–1||8–0||1st||W Orange†||2||2|
|1993||Florida State||12–1||8–0||1st||W Orange†||1||1|
|1994||Florida State||10–1–1||8–0||1st||W Sugar†||5||4|
|1995||Florida State||10–2||7–1||T–1st||W Orange†||5||4|
|1996||Florida State||11–1||8–0||1st||L Sugar†||3||3|
|1997||Florida State||11–1||8–0||1st||W Sugar†||3||3|
|1998||Florida State||11–2||7–1||T–1st||L Fiesta†||3||3|
|1999||Florida State||12–0||8–0||1st||W Sugar†||1||1|
|2000||Florida State||11–2||8–0||1st||L Orange†||4||5|
|2001||Florida State||8–4||6–2||2nd||W Gator||15||15|
|2002||Florida State||9–5||7–1||1st||L Sugar†||23||21|
|2003||Florida State||10–3||7–1||1st||L Orange†||10||11|
|2004||Florida State||9–3||6–2||2nd||W Gator||14||15|
|2005||Florida State||8–5||5–3||1st (Atlantic)||L Orange†||23||22|
|2006||Florida State||7–6 ‡||3–5 ‡||5th (Atlantic)||W Emerald|
|2007||Florida State||7–6 ‡||4–4 ‡||3rd (Atlantic)||L Music City|
|2008||Florida State||9–4||5–3||T–1st (Atlantic)||W Champs Sports||23||21|
|2009||Florida State||7–6||4–4||3rd (Atlantic)||W Gator|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
^ The 1983 season includes a forfeit win vs. Tulane.
‡ For the 2006 and 2007 seasons 12 wins, including 6 conference wins, were vacated for use of ineligible players. 5 wins from 2006 (including 2 conference wins) and 7 wins from 2007 (including 4 conference wins) were ultimately vacated by the NCAA.
Bobby Bowden has co-authored several books, including:
Books about Bobby Bowden's early coaching years:
Books about Bobby Bowden's entire career:
Books which feature contributions from Bobby Bowden:
Assistant coaches under Bobby Bowden who became NCAA head coaches:
The 1970 West Virginia Mountaineers football team represented West Virginia University in the 1970 NCAA University Division football season. It was the Mountaineers' 78th overall season and they competed as an independent. The team was led by head coach Bobby Bowden, in his first year, and played their home games at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. They finished the season with a record of 8–3.1972 West Virginia Mountaineers football team
The 1972 West Virginia Mountaineers football team represented West Virginia University in the 1972 NCAA University Division football season. It was the Mountaineers' 80th overall season and they competed as an independent. The team was led by head coach Bobby Bowden, in his third year, and played their home games at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. They finished the season with a record of 8–4 with a loss against NC State in the Peach Bowl.1973 West Virginia Mountaineers football team
The 1973 West Virginia Mountaineers football team represented West Virginia University in the 1973 NCAA Division I football season. It was the Mountaineers' 81st overall season and they competed as an independent. The team was led by head coach Bobby Bowden, in his fourthyear, and played their home games at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. They finished the season with a record of 6–5.1974 West Virginia Mountaineers football team
The 1974 West Virginia Mountaineers football team represented West Virginia University in the 1974 NCAA Division I football season. It was the Mountaineers' 82nd overall season and they competed as an independent. The team was led by head coach Bobby Bowden, in his fifth year, and played their home games at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. They finished the season with a record of 4–7.1976 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1976 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 1976 NCAA Division I football season. It marked the first season for Bobby Bowden as coach.1980 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1980 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 1980 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium. The team was selected co-national champion by Rothman (FACT).1993 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1993 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University and were the national champions of the 1993 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The season gave the Seminoles their first national title as well as their first Heisman winner in quarterback Charlie Ward.1994 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1994 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium. The team was selected national champion by Dunkel.1995 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1995 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 1995 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium.Running back Warrick Dunn finished ninth place in the Heisman Trophy voting.1996 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 1996 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 1996 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium. The team was selected national champion by Alderson.Florida State completed just their third undefeated regular season, and for the second straight season, running back Warrick Dunn was a Heisman Trophy finalist.2000 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 2000 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University in the 2000 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles reached the title game for the third straight year and quarterback Chris Weinke won the school's second Heisman Trophy.2001 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 2001 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 2001 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).2002 Florida State Seminoles football team
The 2002 Florida State Seminoles football team represented Florida State University during the 2002 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was coached by Bobby Bowden and played their home games at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. They were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). They finished the season 9-5 (7-1 ACC) to finish in 1st place in the ACC. They were invited to the Sugar Bowl, where they lost to Georgia 26-13.
During the season, Bobby Bowden passed Bear Bryant on the all-time coaching wins list.2006 Orange Bowl
The 2006 Orange Bowl, a 2005–2006 BCS game, was played on January 3, 2006. This 72nd edition to the Orange Bowl featured the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Florida State Seminoles.
This game was known for being the eighth, and ultimately final meeting, between the two coaches, Joe Paterno of Penn State and Bobby Bowden of Florida State.Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award
The Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award was a college football award given annually to the nation's best head coach. Established in 2009, Nick Saban was the award's first recipient. The trophy commemorates former Florida State Seminoles football coach Bobby Bowden.Doak Campbell Stadium
Doak S. Campbell Stadium (in full Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium), popularly known as "Doak", is a football stadium on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. It is the home field of the Florida State Seminoles football team of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Opened 67 years ago in 1950, it was originally named Doak Campbell Stadium in honor of Doak S. Campbell, the university's president from 1941 to 1957. On November 20, 2004, the Florida Legislature added longtime head football coach Bobby Bowden to the stadium name to become Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium.The stadium is part of the University Center complex, a mixed-use facility encompassing university office space, university classrooms, the university's Visitor's Center, souvenir store, The University Center Club, and skyboxes and press boxes for use during football games.
With a stadium capacity of 79,560, it is the largest continuous brick structure in the United States, the second-largest stadium in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the 18th largest stadium in the NCAA.Fellowship of Christian Athletes
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) is an international non-profit Christian sports ministry based in Kansas City, Missouri. FCA was founded in 1954. It has staff offices located throughout the United States and abroad.FCA's mission is "to lead every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church." Its vision is "to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes."The organization's headquarters are located across Interstate 70 from the Truman Sports Complex.Florida State Seminoles football
The Florida State Seminoles football team represents Florida State University (variously Florida State or FSU) in the sport of American football. The Seminoles compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The team is known for its storied history, distinctive helmet, fight song and colors as well as the many traditions associated with the school.
Florida State has won three national championships, eighteen conference titles and six division titles along with a playoff appearance. The Seminoles have achieved three undefeated seasons, finished ranked in the top four of the AP Poll for 14 straight years from 1987 through 2000 and completed 41 straight winning seasons from 1977 through 2017. The 1999 team received votes from ESPN as one of the top teams in college football history.The team has produced three Heisman Trophy winners: quarterbacks Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Jameis Winston in 2013. The Biletnikoff Award, presented annually to the top receiver in college football, is named for Florida State hall of famer Fred Biletnikoff. Other awards won by Florida State players include the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, the Lombardi Award, the Dick Butkus Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Lou Groza Award, the Dave Rimington Trophy and the Bobby Bowden Award. Florida State coaches have been honored with the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award, the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the Broyles Award, and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award. Many former Seminoles have gone on to have successful careers in the NFL.
The program has produced 219 All-Americans (45 consensus and 15 unanimous) and 250 professional players. Florida State has had six members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, two members inducted into the College Football Coaches Hall of Fame and four members inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Seminoles have the tenth-highest winning percentage among all college football programs in Division I FBS history with over 500 victories. Florida State has appeared in forty-eight postseason bowl games and rank ninth nationally for bowl winning percentage and fourth for bowl wins. The Seminoles' archrivals are Florida, whom they meet annually in the last game of the regular season, and Miami; both games are considered among the greatest rivalries in college football. A rivalry with Clemson has developed and grown due to both teams competing yearly for the ACC Atlantic division.
The team is coached by Willie Taggart and plays its home games at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium, currently the 18th largest stadium in college football and the 2nd largest in the ACC, located on-campus in Tallahassee, Florida.Jimbo Fisher
John James "Jimbo" Fisher Jr. (born October 9, 1965) is an American college football coach and former player. He is the head coach at Texas A&M University. Previously, Fisher was the head coach at Florida State University.
As a senior at Samford University, Fisher was the 1987 NCAA Division III National Player of the Year. From 2000 until 2006 he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Louisiana State University (LSU). From 2007 to 2009 he was offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and, beginning in 2007, head coach-in-waiting for the Florida State Seminoles. Bobby Bowden, Florida State's head coach of 37 years, retired after the team's appearance in its 28th consecutive bowl game on January 1, 2010. Fisher succeeded Bowden in 2010 and served as Florida State's head coach for eight seasons before resigning to accept the head coaching position at Texas A&M.