Legendary Football Coach
Fee Range: $25,000–$35,000 [FEE NOTE]
Travels From: Florida
Words like legend are often used when describing recently retired Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden and it's an all too fitting term. Bowden has carved his place in college football history and has etched his name among the all-time greats, beginning with the fact that no other coach in major college football history has won more games. But his legacy goes well beyond his impressive win total. He has gained respect and notoriety in the profession by the manner in which he has achieved these accomplishments.
Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December 2006. In a rare, yet remarkable gesture, he and Penn State's Joe Paterno were inducted while still actively coaching. The previous rule was that a person must be retired before they can be elected in, but the rule was changed. Instead of requiring a person be retired, the National Football Foundation decided to make any active coach over 75 eligible for induction.
Both Bowden and Paterno also received an even greater honor when they were presented with the organization's very highest distinction, the Gold Medal, joining the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and H. Norman Schwarzkopf.
An honor indeed and a sparkling addition to Bowden's résumé, which is truly startling. He's the winningest Division 1-A college football coach with 366 victories. His 20 bowl wins are two shy of the all-time bowl record and he led the Seminoles to their 25th-straight bowl game in 2006, the second-longest current bowl streak.
Bowden is the only coach in history to lead his team to 14 straight seasons of being ranked inside the Associated Press' top five. Bowden has coached the Seminoles to two national championships, including the 1999 squad that was the first ever to go through a season from start to finish as the AP's No. 1 team. The Seminoles played in three straight national title games from 1999-2001 and five title games in eight years and have won more games since 1990 than any other program in the country.
So overwhelming has Bowden's influence been on college football and, in particular, at Florida State, that the field at Doak Campbell Stadium was named after him in 2004 and a national award given by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes now bears his name.
While the list of former players whom Bowden has coached reads like a who's who, it is important that his players have won as many awards for academic and community service accomplishments as feats on the field. Bowden has coached nine players who won NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships, 11 first or second team academic All-Americans, 61 ACC All-Academic Team selections and two players, Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn, who were named NFL Man of the Year. Bowden has a lso coached a pair of Heisman Trophy Winners, and two winners of the Thorpe, Butkus, Groza, O'Brien and Lombardi Trophies, in addition to three Johnny Unitas winners. A total of 25 Seminoles have earned first-team Associated Press All-America honors under Bowden and 150 of his FSU players have been drafted by the NFL. Florida State now leads all schools with the most players drafted (97) since 1993.
Bowden ranks second all-time in bowl winning percentage. From 1991-2005, the Seminoles made 15 consecutive trips to "New Year's Day" bowls and the 2006 Emerald Bowl marked the 25th-straight season that the Seminoles reached a bowl game. FSU's bowl streak ranks second nationally only to Michigan while at the time, the streak of "New Year's Day" bowls led the country. Bowden is the only coach in NCAA history to win 11 consecutive bowl games (1985-95) and the only coach ever with 14 consecutive bowl appearances (1982-95) without a loss (FSU tied Georgia 17-17 in the 1984 Citrus Bowl). Bowden and Florida State finished the 2006 season with an Emerald Bowl victory over UCLA marking the 20th bowl victory in his illustrious career. He is now one of just two coaches in NCAA history with 20 bowl wins.
Florida State is the only school to finish among the (Associated Press) top five for 14 consecutive seasons. The Seminoles finished first twice (1993, 1999), second twice (1987, 92), third four times (1988, 89, 97, 99), fourth five times (1990, 91, 94, 95, 96) and fifth in 2000. No team in college football history can match the run. Over the past 15 years, Florida State has played in the Atlantic Coast Conference. FSU is 104-16 since joining the league in 1992 and has claimed 12 ACC championships, including the 2005 title in the first-ever ACC Championship game. The Seminoles won 100 games faster than any team in conference history and also set the league record for consecutive victories. Bowden picked up ACC Coach of the Year titles in 1993 and 1997.
While Bowden has not spent much time looking back, most of the nation has spent time looking in at his program's extraordinary success. Just imagine a college basketball program advancing to the Final Four for 14 years in a row. FSU set an NCAA record with 14 straight top five finishes and the 2001 Orange Bowl was the Seminole's third straight national title game and fifth in eight years.
Rising above Bowden's coaching accomplishments, though, are his credentials as a man. Friendly and outgoing, he is a deeply religious man who believes strongly in the strength of the family. He loves people. His personality and charm are bigger than life and he has become somewhat of a folk hero. An engaging speaker, Bowden is constantly in demand and most free evenings will find him on the speaking circuit.
Bowden's faith and family have always been most important to him. The nation can follow son Tommy's career as head coach at Clemson as well as Terry, who is a college football analyst. The Bowden's oldest son, Steve, co-wrote a book entitled The Bowden Way with his dad that hit the Wall Street Journal's best seller list. His youngest son, Jeff, spent 13 seasons working side-by-side with his father on the FSU staff. His oldest daughter Robyn is married to Atlanta area high school football coach Jack Hines and his youngest daughter Ginger is an attorney.
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