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Bobby Bowden (1929–2021), longtime Florida State football coach

by Linnea Crowther

Bobby Bowden was the Florida State University (FSU) head football coach from 1976 to 2009, considered one of the all-time greatest college coaches.


After playing college football at the University of Alabama and Howard College (now Samford University), Bowden became a coach. He worked at schools including Samford and South Georgia State before taking on an assistant coach position at FSU in 1963. He spent several years at West Virginia University, then returned to FSU as head coach in 1976. Taking over a struggling team, Bowden built the Seminoles into a powerful force as he remained with the team for more than 30 years. His team won national championships in 1993 and 1999, and they won or shared nine consecutive conference titles from 1992 to 2000. Bowden became the second winningest college coach of all time, after Joe Paterno. FSU’s football field is named Bobby Bowden Field in his honor.

Notable quote

“When we went through the dynasty, I never knew it. I didn’t even think about it. I never thought about it until it was over, and then it seemed like every year it grew stronger. That’s what time does, I guess. But while it was happening, I didn’t know it was happening. All I knew is we were winning dadgum games.” —from a 2017 interview for USA Today


Tributes to Bobby Bowden

Full obituary: Orlando Sentinel

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