Bobby Bowden is back at Florida State.
No, not as a head coach. But Seminole fans will start seeing Bowden at football games and in marketing campaigns starting next year. Florida State's official athletics' website explains Bowden's role:
The multiyear agreement will begin in January, 2014, and calls for Bowden to make public appearances during the year to promote, market and raise funds for FSU Athletics in 2014 and 2015. In addition to a Personal Services Agreement, Bowden granted Seminole Boosters the right to use his name and likeness under an exclusive licensing agreement. The Boosters portion of this partnership will support Athletics.
Bowden will receive compensation of $250,000 per year and half of the net royalty income from licensing.
Good for Florida State. Better late than never. This takes a bit of the sting off Bowden's gut-wrenching exit from Florida State in 2009.
After 34 years as the school's head coach, he was officially retired from football on January 1, 2010. But his retirement was not a happy ride into the sunset with a gold watch farewell.
According to the Associated Press, Bowden said he was given the option of being an "ambassador coach," but that he would not be allowed to coach the team from the field. His second option was not much better.
"So I said, 'What's the next alternative?' The next alternative, we ain't going to renew your contract," Bowden said with a big laugh. "Does that sound like I resigned?"
It appears Florida State is making a tremendous effort to make up for the poor way it handled the face of Florida State football. Bowden has not been to a Seminole football game since the end of the 2009 season when Florida State beat West Virginia 33-21 in the 2010 Gator Bowl.
His absence was felt. His passion for Florida State football never left him.
"I miss those boys," he told Bleacher Report in December 2012.
"When you watch a game, you wish you were there, [but] not as a spectator. I ought to be coaching that."
He ought to, but he won't.
Jimbo Fisher is in his fourth year as Florida State's head football coach. He has a 31-10 record and is 3-0 in bowls. Despite Fisher's prominent role at Florida State, the school is leaning on Bowden to drum up money for its athletic programs.
Bowden will always be the face of Florida State football. His folksy charm, sweet nature and old-fashioned musings have won over not only Seminole fans, but most college football fans. Bowden's treatment by school president T.K. Wetherell in 2009 was a source of angst for alumni.
This new agreement with Florida State is a nice apology. It did not need to happen. But, dadgummit, paying Bowden a handsome salary to be part of Florida State football is a good start.
As Bowden told reporters (h/t ESPN):
I am excited about being back. One of the things I missed most about Florida State was the Seminole Boosters banquets that I did. You do that for 34 years, you get real personal. You’ve been knowing them for 34 years so it will feel good to see a lot of (friends) again.
I hope most of it is golf., but whatever it is, I will be there.
Welcome back, coach.