Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden is terminally ill
Posted On July 21, 2021
Bobby Bowden’s faith and spirit remain strong.
However, his weakened body fails him.
The legendary Florida state football coach – who turns 92 in November – his wife Ann and their family announced on Wednesday that Bowden had been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the pitch, and I’m prepared for what’s to come,” Bowden said in a shared statement with the Tallahassee Democrat. “My wife Ann and our family have been the greatest blessing in life.
“I am at peace.”
The Bowden family have also asked for privacy as Bowden looks after his health.
Bowden’s health deteriorated after testing positive for COVID-19 in October 2020.
Hospitalized at the end of June for five days, Bowden struggled to regain his strength. He has undergone supervised care and is resting comfortably in his home in Killearn Estates.
“I feel good but there is not much I can do,” Bowden told the Democrat on Monday, July 5.
Hired from West Virginia in 1976, Bowden posted a 316-97-4 record with two national titles (1993 and 1999) in 34 years at Florida State. He had a losing season – 5-6 in his freshman year at school – and was forced into retirement after going 7-6 in 2009.
LINKS TO BOWDEN STORIES
Bowden – a native of Birmingham, Alabama – won 377 games during his 44-year-old college coaching career to place fourth all-time behind John Gagliardi (489), Joe Paterno (409) and Eddie Robinson (408) .
Bowden and his wife Ann, his childhood sweetheart, have been married for 72 years. The couple have six children, 21 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three of the four sons have gone on to train – Terry, 65, was hired by Louisiana-Monroe as a head coach last December.
Over the past few years, Bowden has been slowed down by persistent and painful back and hip problems that prevented him from playing golf and walking around his neighborhood. He was also one of the country’s most sought-after motivational speakers, sharing football stories and his faith.
In April, Bowden received the first Governor of Liberty’s Medal from the Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis at the Governor’s Mansion.
Bowden – a devout Baptist – made his last public appearance on stage in early June as a guest speaker at Send Luncheon, hosted by the North American Mission Board (NAMB), in Nashville.
“I really enjoyed it – felt like it was the first time I had stepped out of this house in months,” Bowden told the Tallahassee Democrat after the one-day engagement.
The unexpected appearance came as Mark Richt, a former Bowden assistant in Florida, explained to attendees how his former boss had led him to the Lord.
Before Richt finished his testimony, Bowden was introduced as the lights came on in a dark corner of the stage.