First things first, happy Mothers Day to all of the moms out there.
Many do not realize that a great head coach can be a father figure to the men that play up under him. At Florida State University, Bobby Bowden was quoted as being a father figure to many of his men.
If you have ever heard the man speak, you would hear just a snippet of what he has dealt with. A great coach isn’t someone who cares just about the schematics on the field, but is in the business of changing lives. That is exactly what Bowden did.
Let’s not forget Bowden had his own biological sons to worry about. They followed in his footsteps as a coach. But behind a great coach is an even better coach’s wife. The success of the legendary Bowden can largely be contributed to the woman beside him.
Ann Bowden at Bowden Bowl I in 1999
If Bowden was considered a saint, then Ann Bowden is a female pope. Bowden has had his life partner by his side since April 1, 1949 (71 years ago). Together the Bowdens had six children, and three of them would later become FBS-level coaches. While Ann Bowden only had six biological children, she inherited thousands of adopted children through the football programs her husband was the leader of.
She would also be considered FSU’s ace recruiter back in the day. When former FSU quarterback recruit Drew Weatherford was visiting Florida State weeks before National Signing Day, her banana pudding was mentioned. It is not only mentioned within his story but many more.
While we’re on the subject of food, let’s also thank Ann Bowden for her delicious banana pudding. I think we all can agree that without Ann’s pudding we wouldn’t have had signed a single recruit from 2002-2006.
From Willie Williams Recruiting Diary
Coach Bowden was cool, but Ms. Bowden was the bomb. I swear, she must be related to Betty Crocker or something. When we walked into that house, it was like walking into a Publix Bakery — banana pudding, chocolate cake, cheesecake. I had one of everything. I didn’t want to leave.
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Besides corralling in top-level recruits with her secret banana pudding recipe, she was a mother figure for many. Many times, the Bowdens would host players at their house in the Killearn area of Tallahassee. In 1979, she started the Extra Point Club, which has been the biggest supporter for Florida State athletics. The Extra Point Club was created as a group of women tasked with promoting the pride and tradition in the Florida State football program during the early part of Bowden’s tenure.
While Bill Duhram created the idea of Osceola and Renegade, it was Ann Bowden who pushed the idea to the moon to make it happen. A big reason you see one of the best traditions in all of college football is because of Mrs. Bowden.
I think it is safe to say that without her, FSU may not have had its run with just Bobby Bowden.
The Mom of College Football
Pictured above you see her in a half-Clemson and half-Florida State sweater. It was the first ever head coaching match-up between father and son. This was in 1999 when she had to cheer for her husband and son. She told media in the weeks leading up to this historic game that she was rooting for her husband of 50 years to win, but in a close game against her son, Tommy Bowden and Clemson.
Not only did she have Tommy to cheer for but she had Terry and Jeff. Jeff has been an assistant FBS coach under his dad and brother Terry. Terry, to this day, is still the winningest head coach percentage-wise in Auburn history.
As we follow the stories of college football, let’s never forget the women of college football. Happy Mother’s Day!
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