It was time to move on. Everyone knew it except the person that really needed to. But isn't that always how relationships seem to work out? When long relationships sour, it’s usually the person that’s not wanted anymore who is the most clueless to the situation.
Bobby Bowden’s time at Florida State had come and gone, and everyone around the program saw it was time for a change. Everyone that is, except for Bowden.
The 80-year-old coach wanted to stay. He wanted to do the only thing he’s ever known. Bowden wanted to coach.
The only problem? He wasn’t getting the job done anymore. Florida State had gone from the mighty behemoth of college football in the 1990s to one of the most inconsistent teams in the ACC in what seemed like a blink of an eye.
The team was now making just as much news for their off the field antics as they were for their on the field accomplishments. Twenty-two losses in four years was evidence enough that there was now a need for a new spark, not an old flame.
Florida State was riding down a slippery slope by having Bowden’s successor already on staff. Head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher was eager to take the reigns and lead the way, and his youth, energy, and passion were something that Bowden had been lacking over the latter part of his tenure.
So the school decided if Bowden wasn't going to leave on his own accord, then it was just going to have to take action.
So it did. President T.K. Wetherall, a close friend of Bowdens, laid out the situation. The coach could either give up all control of the program and stay on as an ambassador coach, or deal with the embarrassment of being let go after 34 years of service.
Bowden chose to “resign” on December 1, 2009. A month later he would coach his final game against his old school, West Virginia, in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. After defeating the Mountaineers 33-21, the he was hoisted up on the shoulders of his team one last time before giving the Seminoles fans a final address over the loud speaker of EverBank Field.
The message would end up being marred by microphone difficulties, which felt like a perfect summation to Bowden’s career. After a remarkable coaching career that included 389 wins, Bowden simply ran into difficulties.
He certainly had his time in the sun, but it became painfully clear over the last few years that a change was in order. Bowden has begun complaining recently about how the situation was handled, but really, he gave the school no other choice.
Bowden can throw everyone under the bus that he wants to now that he has a book to sell which he needs to generate buzz and publicity for. But the truth is Florida State made the right move, and the coach just has to realize that his time was up.
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