Bobby Bowden, Hall of Fame FSU Head Coach, Dies at Age 91

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 8, 2021

Retired Florida State coach Bobby Bowden applauds following a Rotary Club luncheon in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The 88-year-old Bowden was in Omaha to accept the Tom Osborne Legacy Award as part of the Outland Trophy banquet. Bowden coached Florida State from 1976-2009 and won national championships in 1993 and 1999. His Seminoles beat Osborne's Nebraska team 18-16 in the Orange Bowl after the 1993 season for the first of his two national championships. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden died Sunday.

He was 91.

FSU Football @FSUFootball

Today we lost a legend but you never lose a legacy. Rest In Peace Coach Bowden <a href="https://t.co/f7pQpUPqbJ">pic.twitter.com/f7pQpUPqbJ</a>

Terry Bowden @CoachTBowden

Celebrating a life well lived. <a href="https://t.co/9nVysRjWeQ">pic.twitter.com/9nVysRjWeQ</a>

Bowden was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer last month.

"I've always tried to serve God's purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bowden said in a statement announcing his illness. "My wife Ann and our family have been life's greatest blessing. I am at peace."

Bowden had been in declining health since being diagnosed with COVID-19 last October.

One of the most decorated coaches in college sports history, Bowden guided Florida State's football program from 1976 to 2009. The Seminoles went 315-98-4 under Bowden, winning two national championships and 12 ACC titles.

From 1987 to 2000, Florida State never won fewer than 10 games nor finished any lower than fifth in the final Associated Press poll.

"Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class and a sense of humor," Florida State president John Thrasher said in a statement. "Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family."

While Bowden's coaching resume speaks for itself, he was also known as a larger-than-life personality who embraced the spotlight of major college football. He was one of the most quotable coaches in sports history, offering both short quips that dug at opponents and long speeches that pushed his teams to the next level.

When Bowden was at Florida State and Steve Spurrier presided over Florida, there was no better rivalry in college football—and certainly none more entertaining.

"Coach Bowden coached a long time there," Spurrier said last month. "He made FSU football what it was. I was at Florida 12 years, and 11 of those years they were in the top four in the nation. We had to play them the last game of the season. I said how come Tennessee doesn't have to play these dudes the last game of the season like we do?!"

Bowden, who also coached for six seasons at West Virginia, retired after the 2009 season as the second-winningest coach in college football history, behind only Penn State's Joe Paterno. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.