Remembering legendary FSU football coach Bobby Bowden

Reporter: Michael Hudak
Published: Updated:
Bobby Bowden

A funeral service was held Saturday for legendary Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden.

He coached the Seminoles football team for 34 years and retired in 2010 after building Florida State into a national powerhouse.

Bowden died Aug. 8 at the age of 91 from complications of pancreatic cancer.

At FSU, Bowden built a culture of excellence, hard work, and winning. That was felt not just in Tallahassee, but also in Southwest Florida where there are two people who felt Bowden’s impact first hand.

One of them is a former FSU football player Dan Royal IV, who owes his athletic career to Bowden.

Royal tore his ACL at the age of 18 and was about to turn away from athletics until Bowden came around.

“I said I wasn’t doing that great. And he said, you know, it’s gonna be alright … just remember who’s in charge,” Royal said. “Bobby always taught me that who you are is more important than what you did on the field.” 

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson’s daughter was a student at FSU during Bowden’s final season as head coach. 

“I think the fans, they loved him, whether he was winning or losing. And one thing I thought was interesting, when you watch a lot of very well-admired and respected and loved coaches move on, a lot of times fans give up on him. Well, even after Bobby Bowden retired, the FSU fans continued to love and adore him,” Anderson said.

Bowden won two national championships and 12 conference titles.

“He may have been the most competitive coach I have ever been around,” said Gene Deckerhoff, play-by-play announcer for the Seminoles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “He did it the right way. He won. He was successful. He never changed. And I think part of his legacy … he was a legend, but he acted just like you and me.”

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