Bobby Bowden: A Florida Gator Fan's Take on the Career of FSU's Coach

James WalkerAnalyst IINovember 30, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 25:  Head coach Bobby Bowden of the Florida State Seminoles congratulates head coach Urban Meyer of the Florida Gators after the Gators' victory at Doak Campbell Stadium November 25, 2006 in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida defeated Florida State 21-14.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

It's official: Coach Bobby Bowden will end his 34-year head coaching career on December 1, 2009. 

It was inevitable that Coach Bowden would retire from Florida State University, but after the game against Florida this past weekend, there seemed to be a possibility that he would return for one more season.

Frankly, I feel he is being forced to retire, and that bothers me.

Conventional wisdom could lead some to believe that Bowden's time had come and gone. Many argue that he should have retired years ago when Jimbo Fisher was named the coach-in-waiting. Some may even go as far as to say he should have been fired when FSU started losing four or five games per year.

If you feel or agree with any of the above, then shame on you.

When Bobby Bowden left West Virginia to take the job at Florida State, the Seminoles had won just four games in the previous three seasons. After 34 years as the FSU head coach, the only losing season he ever had was his first in 1976.

His overall record at FSU: 309-91-4, pending NCAA review. Hopefully the NCAA will come to their senses and leave his record alone.

Now that it appears that it is all said and done, Coach Bowden is the second-winningest coach in NCAA history. He coached FSU to two national championships and 14 straight seasons of 10 or more victories, as well as 14 straight seasons finishing in the top five in the final AP poll.

I remember when I was younger and dumber, I used to take jabs at Coach Bowden and FSU for being an Independent or member of the ACC. That was my reason for their success; the Seminoles were not a member of a "real" football conference. 

The ACC may not have been as tough as the SEC, but any team that can win its conference nine-straight times right after joining it is impressive. In fact, from 1992-2005, FSU won the ACC Championship a total of 12 times in 14 years.

Sure, FSU lost more games than usual the last five seasons. The last time the Seminoles has been to a BCS bowl game was during the 2005 season when they met Penn State in the Orange Bowl. The game was played on January 3, 2006. 

I will always remember the FSU teams that Bobby Bowden coached. I will always remember the stars he coached: Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, Derrick Brooks, Peter Warrick, and Terrell Buckley. 

I will always remember the post-game interviews, and most of all, I will always remember that grand-dad persona that prevented anyone from disliking him.

Dadgummit will always be a word in the college football dictionary. 

Football will never be the same in the state of Florida. That is the thoughts and memories of a Florida Gators fan.

Thanks for the memories, Coach Bowden.