Bobby Bowden: Family, spiritual life, more important than football

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bobby bowden air it out.png
Family, spiritual life, more important than football.JPG
Posted at 2:19 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 14:19:00-04

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The legendary Florida State coach, and Birmingham native, Bobby Bowden, joins Rick Karle on the latest edition of Air It Out.

Bowden on getting sick at a young age

“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.”

His family

“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.”

Thoughts on his sons following in his footsteps

“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.”

Florida State Championships

“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.”

Alabama and Auburn

“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.

Pat Dye

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.”

Thoughts on Nick Saban

“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.”

His Faith

“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.”

How he wants to be remembered

“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.

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