Bobby Bowden — Hall of Fame college football coach and longtime Alabama Baptist — has died. He was 91.
Bowden, the longtime coach of Florida State University, announced July 21 that he had been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition. Bowden’s son, Terry, later said the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. FSU officials announced Bowden’s death this morning (Aug. 8).
Bowden is known for leading the Florida State University football team to win two national championships and 12 ACC titles, but his roots are in Alabama.
He grew up in Ruhama Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, and played his freshman college season for the University of Alabama before transferring to Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham. He played for Howard College from 1949 to 1952, earning All-America honors as quarterback in 1952.
Bowden returned to Howard College as head football coach from 1959 to 1962, leaving with a record of 31–6 and the highest winning percentage of any coach in school history. He then went to the University of West Virginia for five years before landing his career role at FSU.
In October 2020, he suffered a “tough” bout of COVID-19 just days after a long hospital stay for an infection in his leg. He was hospitalized again in June for five days, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
‘Prepared for what is to come’
On the day Bowden announced his diagnosis, he said he had “always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” according to a statement released by FSU.
“My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing,” he continued. “I am at peace.”
Arrangements and viewing at Samford
Bowden will lie in repose at Reid Chapel on Samford’s campus Sunday, Aug. 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. This viewing is open to the public, with a family-only burial service to follow in Trussville.
Before arriving at Samford, he will lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda in Florida and lie in repose at FSU’s athletic center on Friday, Aug. 13, then be memorialized at a public funeral at the Tucker Civic Center on FSU’s campus on Saturday, Aug. 14, at 11 a.m.