Bobby Bowden at Little Rock Touchdown Club (Part 2)jh25

I went to the Little Rock Touchdown Club and heard Bobby Bowden of Florida State speak. It was outstanding. Here is an article below on his visit from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

LITTLE ROCK — Former Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden is familiar with pressure brought on by high expectations.

Two years ago, after the Seminoles finished the season 7-6, Bowden, 81, wanted to coach one more season. But he was not given that opportunity.

Florida State President T.K. Wetherell asked him to step aside as coach and stay with the team in the diminished role of university ambassador — which would have given him little input on the day-to-day operations of the football team.

Bowden declined. He announced his retirement, and Jimbo Fisher, who had been appointed as the school’s coachin-waiting two years earlier, was given the head-coaching position for the 2010 season.

“That’s just the way it is now,” Bowden told members of the media after speaking to the Little Rock Touchdown Club at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock on Monday. “I had wanted to coach one more year and try and get to 400 wins.”

Bowden retired with a career record of 377-129-4 after the NCAA forced Florida State to vacate 12 victories from the 2006-2007 seasons for academic problems with his former players.

“They are paying the head coach so much money now that they demand you to win,” Bowden said. “The thing is, head coaches make so much money now that you can retire. There aren’t going to be a lot of coaches who last as long as Joe [Paterno] and I did.”

Paterno has coached 46 years at Penn State with a 402-136-3 record.

Bowden said he made approximately $40,000 per year when he was hired at Florida State in 1976; he was making $2.5 million when he retired two years ago.

His Florida State team won 10 or more games from 1987-2000, never finished lower than fourth in the final AP poll, and won national championships in 1993 and 1999.

But during his last five seasons as coach, the Seminoles went 38-27 and only won 1 ACC championship.

“Those last few years, we didn’t do a good job evaluating players like we once did,” Bowden said. “We would see a kid we wanted, and he wasn’t as good as advertised.”

Failing to live up to expectations also cost Bowden’s sons, Terry and Tommy, their coaching jobs.

Terry Bowden posted a 47-17-1 record from 1993-1998 at Auburn, but he stepped down in 1998 with the Tigers at 1-5 and his job security up in the air.

Tommy Bowden went 72-45 at Clemson from 1999-2008, but resigned when the Tigers started the season 3-3 after being ranked ninth in the preseason Associated Press poll in 2008.

Terry Bowden is now coaching at NCAA Division II North Alabama, while Tommy Bowden is out of coaching.

Bobby Bowden still cares about Florida State football, despite not being able to retire on his own terms. The Seminoles, 2-0 and ranked fifth in this week’s AP poll, host No. 1 Oklahoma Saturday night.

Bowden also acknowledged many of other changes in college coaching, but he remains a traditionalist:

Bowden does not approve of conference realignment, but said it is inevitable.

“Texas A&M is going to leave the Big 12, and if a bunch of schools from the Big 12 leave, then it’s going to change everything,” Bowden said.

On the lack of a playoff in college football: “I don’t think we’ll have a playoff, and it won’t happen because the presidents don’t want it.”

On the coach-in-waiting concept that Florida State, Texas, Maryland and Oregon have used with mixed results: “I think it’s good for the coach-in-waiting,” Bowden said, acknowledging that the coach-in-waiting usually gets promoted or a pay raise if the school doesn’t promote him by a certain date. “The president and athletic council came up with it, and I went along with it because I was at the end of my career.”

On the value a good college football team brings to a university: “When I first came to Florida State in 1976, when I would go recruiting, the president would say, ‘When you go to Tampa, please visit this girl because she’s a straight-A student and we want her,’” Bowden said. “Four years later, we went undefeated, played in our first major bowl game and were on national television. We would take about 2,500 students every year, but were getting 5,000-6,000 applicants because a successful football team attracts students.”

This article was published today at 4:28 a.m.Sports, Pages 19 on 09/13/2011

Sports 19

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden

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