Photo courtesy of BobbyBowden.com
Sad news came over the Florida State football community early Sunday as legendary head coach Bobby Bowden died at the age of 91 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Bowden spent 34 years as head coach of the Seminoles. During that time, FSU won 377 games, 12 ACC titles and two national championships.
As is the case for many Florida State alumni and fans, Bowden was a hero. He was a role model and not just for his accomplishments on the field, but his impact off it.
Unfortunately, this author never had the opportunity to interview the legend. Fortunately, he did get to interview more than 50 former Florida State athletes — many football players — who played under the legend.
This series will be multiple parts and this is Part II. Below are compilations of quotes regarding the legend from interviews over the years:
Charlie Ward, QB/P (1989-93)
Charlie Ward was Florida State’s first Heisman Trophy winner and quarterbacked the Seminoles to their first national championship. For a piece for The Daily Nole from January 2018, former players who went into coaching were asked about which of their former FSU coaches they saw in themselves. Ward mentioned multiple coaches. Here’s what he said about Coach Bowden:
As a head coach at the high school level, Ward said he’s taken pieces from each of the aforementioned FSU coaches and implemented them into his life as a coach. After Ward struggled early during the 1992 season as a starter, Bowden’s Seminoles shifted to a style that better suited the future Heisman winner and national champion’s skill-set, which came to be known as the “Fast Break Offense”.
“You have to be willing to adapt,” Ward said. “Coach Bowden was willing to change what he was used to doing. I admired that he was willing to sacrifice that for my success.
“Coach Bowden was more of the CEO/manager who allowed his coaches to coach,” Ward said. “We wasn’t a micro-manager, but he wasn’t afraid to share his thoughts. Coach Bowden was also a very good Christian man.”
Clay Shiver, C (1991-95)
Clay Shiver, a 2-time Consensus All-American, took part in the “Catching Up” series for Noled Out. Bowden called Shiver the greatest center he ever coached.
“I didn’t have a lot of interaction with Coach Bowden my first few years, but as you become a starter and a veteran and a team captain, you interact a little more. What struck me about him was his concern about the condition of the team,” Shiver said. “The conversations I had with him went beyond football.
“People think of the winningest coach of all-time, especially now with the coaching atmosphere, you would probably think of somebody really concerned with the wins and losses,” he added. “He was; he wanted to win and he instilled that championship attitude in his teams and his concern when you’d sit down with him went beyond that. I coach a small high school down here and that has always stuck with me is how he cared about people’s lives and how they were being molded.”
Tay Cody, CB (1996-2000)
Another All-American, cornerback Tay Cody took part in the “Catching Up” series for Noled Out. He spoke about the legend as a “father figure”.
“Coach Bowden was like a father figure to all his players. Coach Bowden would always read us scriptures and talk to us about the importance of doing the right thing,” Cody said.