Legendary Florida State Seminoles football coach Bobby Bowden has died.
He was 91.
“Coach Bowden was one of the greatest coaches ever, but more than that he was an incredible man,” current head coach Mike Norvell said. “He was a special human being who earned an enduring legacy because of his wonderful heart, faith and values he lived. It was the honor of my lifetime to know him and beyond anything I could dream to have a relationship with him. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted by Coach Bowden and particularly with his wife Ann, their children, grandchildren, former players and coaches. The entire Florida State family is hurting right now at the loss of our program’s patriarch.”
Bowden was a college football iconoclast who took over the reins at FSU in 1976 and led the Seminoles through the 2009 season. He was a primary figure in ushering in the high-powered offensive attacks that now pervade the college landscape. In his 34 years at Florida State, Bowden took what was a middling ’Nole program to the ranks of the college football elite, punctuated by national championships in 1993 and 1999. His 346 career wins are the second-most in FBS history.
“Florida State University has lost a legend in the passing of Bobby Bowden,” outgoing FSU president John Trasher said. “On behalf of everyone at FSU, Jean and I extend our deepest condolences to Ann and the Bowden family. Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with class and a sense of humor. While he leaves an incredible legacy as one of the best football coaches in collegiate history, he also will be remembered for his great faith, his love of family and his mentorship of countless young people. He will be profoundly missed.”
He battled COVID-19 in 2020, emerging from the battle weakened but victorious. After taking a few years away from the program, he returned a familiar face and presence, notably planting the spear vs. NC State in 2013.
“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bowden said in July 2021 after being diagnosed with a terminal disease. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”
Here are some posts from the college football world at large reacting to the passing of a legend.
Coach Bowden made a huge impact on not only my life personally but so many others. He was blessed to have his family by his side when He passed away. My condolences to his wife Ann and their family.#dunndidit #bobbybowden— Warrick Dunn (@WarrickDunn) August 8, 2021
Celebrating a life well lived. pic.twitter.com/9nVysRjWeQ— Terry Bowden (@CoachTBowden) August 8, 2021
God Bless the Bowden family. Thank you Coach B for everything you for me as a Coach and Mentor. Thank you for showing me the way. My heart is heavy Love you Coach B.— ANTONIO CROMARTIE (@CRO31) August 8, 2021
"He was the model. He was such a great example of not losing sight of the main thing: a man of faith, a great husband, a great father." - Dabo Swinney in July on Bobby Bowden— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) August 8, 2021
All of college football mourns this loss. Our are with the Bowdens today. https://t.co/XAqSvOx1Jv pic.twitter.com/8hdOpHaLoK
Coach Bowden was a legendary father, coach and man of faith. With great admiration and sadness, we are praying for his family as college football remembers his profound legacy. https://t.co/6EEAdW55lj— Danny Wuerffel (@DannyWuerffel) August 8, 2021
Bobby Bowden's career was legendary. His 377 career wins are 4th-most in NCAA history, 304 of which came at Florida State.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 8, 2021
He won two National titles at FSU and his 21 Bowl game wins are 2nd-most all-time. pic.twitter.com/Y43jm8ARjN
There's going to be a lot of great stories about Bobby Bowden published today. You'll hear a lot about his trick plays and his scheduling philosophy...but hearing this stuff just cracks me up.https://t.co/DyMVUklXl7 pic.twitter.com/6BNED8hCq9— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) August 8, 2021
A great Coach - a great guy - a terrific humanitarian / we had so much fun honoring the Hall of Famer at my Gala to raise$$$ for @TheVFoundation several years ago. BOBBY BOWDEN was so so SPECIAL ! May he RIP pic.twitter.com/hNfu62T8Jc— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) August 8, 2021
Rest In Peace to a Legend. pic.twitter.com/Iysy2hXtrj— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) August 8, 2021
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of Bobby Bowden.— The ACC (@theACC) August 8, 2021
The ACC, Florida State and the entire college athletics family have lost a true giant. pic.twitter.com/lbXgrjhOhp
Today as we mourn the passing of Coach Bobby Bowden, I reflect on his amazing legacy not just as a coach, but as a man, a mentor and an incredible person of faith. Please join me in keeping his family in prayer during this difficult time. #BobbyBowden #FSUFootball #CharlieWard https://t.co/Jh9mY1s86t— Charlie Ward (@RealCharlieWard) August 8, 2021
When I think of Bobby Bowden, I think about kindness. All the stories his players and coaches tell, or when a young nobody reporter wanted to interview him. He didn’t big-time folks. He was always grounded. We could use more of that.— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) August 8, 2021