It’s A Shame This Bobby Bowden Story Won’t End Well

October 8, 2009 – 12:15 pm by Jimmy Shapiro

Bobby Bowden has been an icon at Florida State since 1976.  He took the heading coaching job at FSU as a 47 year old man and on November 8th, he will still have that same job as an 80 year old man.  My dad is 72 and very active playing racquetball three days a week and softball two days a week.  Yet he still naps around 5 days a week and goes to bed much earlier than he used to.  It happens, no shame in that.  Unfortunately in today’s college football world, coaching is a 12-15 hour a day job during the season. You have to be up on the latest technology such as Twitter and Facebook in order to relate better to your players and to potential recruits.  A soon to be 80 year old truly should not be a head coach in today’s world.

From 1987 to 2000, Florida State had double figure wins each and every year.  Since then, they’ve had one.  They’ve become an afterthought on the national scene and the boosters aren’t happy.   I’m sure Bowden’s age has something to do with this.  He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time, a fabulous interview, and he’s former players are loyal to a fault when discussing Bowden.  But it’s time to move on into the Jimbo Fisher era.  The main problem is there’s no easy way to do this.  To quote the brilliant Doug Coughlin from the award winning movie “Cocktail”:  “Everything ends badly or else it wouldn’t end.”

This past week boosters called for Bobby Bowden’s ousting and wanted to strengthen the position of coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher.  FSU President T.K. Wetherell said Bowden’s job is safe for now.  Bowden hasn’t spoken much on the controversy this week, but did do an interview with 790 the Zone in Atlanta and discussed the distractions of the week, the pressure for him to step aside, if he wants to coach next year, and tells the story of how Joe Paterno’s wife called his wife yesterday.

On what has been going on lately:

“Nothing (laughter) You wouldn’t remember the days but years ago you used to coach football you know it. All you do is worry about the football plays, but boy now you got all kinds of distractions.”

On how distracting this can be for preparing for a game:

“Well the thing about it is that that assistant coaches don’t have to get involved thank goodness and then the players don’t have to get involved. So I will be honest with you that our players haven’t even thought a bit of it. Our coaches like I say I am the one that has to handle all of that junk so I don’t think it affects our preparation whatsoever.”

On how he has been treated by the FSU administration:

“Well I think they have treated me real well. They have treated me real well. If I was winning 10 games11 games a year it would be expected. But under the circumstances we hadn’t… We built a dadgum monster down here… Let me say this: If you ever win a National Championship they expect you to do it every year.”

On Jim Smith going public with the story about looking to ouster Bobby and whether it was a bad play on Jim’s part:

“Well I am not going to get into that.”

On whether he can understand why people think it is time for him to step aside:

“Well you can imagine how many years that I have heard that. Once you get 65 that is the answer. You lose a ball game the head coach is too old… You know you can be 80 years young or you can be 50 years old. I feel good. I can tell you from experience when you get my age if you got good health then it really don’t make no difference. I probably don’t do it any different then any other head coach: delegate responsibility, I got good people, and I got sense enough to leave them alone.”

On whether he misses the days where he coached more hands-on:

“If the culture was the same I would like it that much. But the way the culture is nowadays with the internet, the talk shows, and this and that there is so much misinformation that comes out and you have to put out the fires, put out the fires, put out the fires. Now it wasn’t like that 30 years ago but now it is so that makes it a little different. I still love it though!”

On whether he has thought about walking away before the end of the season and whether the pressure was that overbearing:

“That is a very fair question too… I coach because I love it and you know I am not going to coach a lot longer but I wanted to name it and not somebody else. You know you would like to go out having a great year. I kind of follow Joe Paterno’s pattern. Joe and I. He is a little bit older than I am but the same thing that is happening to me as happened to him… He has told me the story. In fact, his wife called my wife yesterday and they talked for about 30 minutes because it affects them too. But Joe said: Ya’ll just sit back and through it and see what happens. Of course since that time he has had some big wins and of course naturally I hope I can do the same thing. Looking at us right now you would think not but like I told him the year is not over yet.”

On whether he wants to coach next year to get another crack at the National Championship title:

“Well right now that is what I am thinking of. My contract is a one-year contract and after the year I let them know do I want to come back. That is the way it has been.”

Listen to Bobby Bowden on 790 the Zone in Atlanta with Morning Mayhem

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