The family of Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, according to a statement to the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat.
The Democrat reports that Bowden, 91, has struggled to regain his strength after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in October 2020; He was also hospitalized for five days at the end of June. Regardless, the legendary Florida State coach said he’s “prepared for what’s to come” after his diagnosis. The Democrat also reports that the Bowden family requests privacy while taking care of their health.
“I have always tried to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bowden told the Democrat. “My wife Ann and our family have been the greatest blessing of life.
“I am at peace.”
Bowden ranks fourth all-time in NCAA history with 377 wins after 40 seasons, behind only John Gagliardi (489), Joe Paterno (409) and Eddie Robinson (408). The Birmingham, Alabama native began his head coaching career in West Virginia in 1970, where for six seasons he led the Mountaineers to a 42-26 record, a 1-1 bowl record and a top 25 finish. .
Florida State hired Bowden to run its football program at a time when he was not considered among the elite teams in college football; the show went through five coaches during the previous 22 seasons before its arrival, enjoying just 11 winning seasons, a one-bowl win and zero finishes in the top 25. After debuting with a 5-6 record in 1976, his only losing record as a Seminoles coach, Bowden led the team into an era of unprecedented success, beginning with a 10-2 record in 1977, capped with a victory. at the Tangerine Bowl. .
His teams enjoyed marginal success over the next several years before beginning an incredible streak of 28 straight bowl games (1982-2009) and an even more impressive streak of 14 consecutive top-five finishes (1987-2000). He enjoyed a 21-10-1 bowl record and two national championships, won in the 1993 and 1999 seasons. In total, he led the Seminoles to 12 ACC championships (in 18 league seasons) and 18 seasons. with double-digit wins, including seven seasons with just one loss and one undefeated season in 1999.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.