Bobby Bowden, Florida State Coaching Legend, Dead at 91

Bobby Bowden, legendary Florida State football coach, died Sunday morning, the school announced. He was 91 years old. In July, Bowden revealed that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time of his death, Bowden was surrounded by his wife Ann and all six of their children. Last year, Bowden revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19. A few days later, he was readmitted to the hospital due to complications of the virus.

Bowden began his coaching career at Howard (now called Samford) as an assistant coach in 1954. He then became the head coach at South Georgia State College in 1956 and spent three seasons there before going back to being an assistant coach at Howard, Florida State and West Virginia. Bowden became the head coach at West Virginia in 1970 and won 42 games in six seasons. He was hired as Florida's State's head coach in 1976 and made the program into one of the best in the country. In Bowden's second season at FSU, he led the team to a 10-2 record and victory in the Tangerine Bowl. The Seminoles went on to have back-to-back 10-win seasons in 1979 and 1980 and played in the Orange Bowl both seasons.

Bowden made history in 1993 when he led FSU to a national championship. He won another national title again in 1999 after the team went 12-0, which including a Sugar Bowl win. Bowden remained the head coach at FSU until the end of the 2009 season. During his 30-plus tenure at Florida State, Bowden posted a 304-97-4 record. Overall, Bowden had 40 winning seasons as a head coach, including 33 consecutive at Florida State.

"Faith is the most important thing in the world to me," Bowden said in a 2009 interview with ESPN. "It's the greatest strength I've had. It's helped me get through the hard times. You're not going to win every one of your football games. I've always said I'm not going to make football my god. A lot of coaches put so much into coaching football games that they have nothing left. I've never made football my priority."


Bowden's sons also go into coaching. Tommy Bowden was the head coach at Clemson while Terry Bowden was the head coach and Auburn and was named Coach of the Year in 1993. Jeff Bowden was an offensive coordinator at Florida State. The elder Bowden was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1929 and played quarterback at the University of Alabama before transferring to Howard.