“13 years of age I had rheumatic fever and had to go to bed for a year. I had to drop out of school. Thank goodness I got over it and was able to play high school football my last two years at Woodlawn.”
“Anne and I have six children, we’ve been married 69 years. Tommy, Terry, and Jeff all went into coaching. My oldest son Steve, he was a professor. My oldest daughter [Robyn] was a cheerleader at West Virginia and she married one of our players. My daughter Ginger was a freshman cheerleader at Florida State, she married one of our players. So they all got a little football background.”
“I didn’t want them going into coaching. Why? Well I didn’t want to play against them and number two, I didn’t want them playing against each other. It would split the family. But they all decided to go into coaching, and I said, well if that’s what you want them I’m with you.”
“You don’t know if it will ever happen, and all of a sudden you win a national championship, and dadgum, six years later you win another one. I think I was 68 when we won our last national championship.”
“I always wanted to go back to either Alabama or Auburn.”
Bowden discusses the times he almost ended up on both The Plains and The Capstone over the years.
In the early 1980’s, when Auburn was interest in hiring Bowden, he had another name that he thought could be a good fit for the program. “I recommended Pat Dye. I thought he would be great for it. I said y’all oughta hire Pat Dye and they did, but not because I said so…he’s an excellent coach.”
“I’m amazed at what he does. He loses coaches, I began to lose coaches, when you do good you lose coaches…Nick loses them, and then replaces them, and there’s no drop off.”
“If you’re gonna coach, you’re gonna have ups and downs, you’re gonna have good days and bad days. And I think your spiritual closeness with God helps you to get over those bad days. You realize there is something more important in life than football. Your family is more important. Your spiritual life is more important. And I think that protects you from yourself…It’s hard to win them all, and you need something stronger to hang on to and I’ve always hung on to my faith.”
“That I served God’s purpose for my life…I’ve had writers ask me what I want my legacy to be, it’s not anything to do with football, I want it to be that he served God’s purpose with his life. And I hope I have. I haven’t done as good as I should, but I’ve tried."
Check out the full episode to hear all this, plus what got him into coaching, remembering some of his biggest players, and more.