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ACC Daily Fever: Against His Wishes, This Will Be Bobby Bowden's Final Season at FSU

Posted: Oct 05, 2009

It might not be "official" yet, but 2009 will be Bobby Bowden's last season a Florida State's head coach.
The link above goes to a story directly quoting FSU Trustees chair Jim Smith about Bobby Bowden's future as FSU's head coach:

“My hope is frankly that we’ll go ahead, and if we have to, let the world know that this year will be the end of the Bowden Era. I do appreciate what he’s done for us, what he’s done for the program, what’s he done really for the state of Florida.

But I think the record will show that the Seminole Nation has been more than patient. We have been in a decline not for a year or two or three but I think we’re coming up on seven or eight. I think enough is enough.”

These are words that can't really be taken back - even if the Seminoles were to pull out a late season miracle against their rival Gators.

Considering his position and long time connection to FSU, Smith cannot only be speaking for himself.  In fact, Smith further explained his reasoning for coming out publicly.  He believes it has to do with (a) locking down Jimbo Fisher as FSU's next head coach, (b) stopping the perceived negative recruiting being used against FSU regarding the uncertainty of Fisher's status, and (c) not wanting FSU's next president to have to deal with the coaching issue.

Smith explains:

“We are dependent on the goodwill and the financial resources of thousands of people to make this program work effectively, and we don’t have any goodwill out there right now....  The Board of Trustees, and I think, the President — we can’t ignore that. That’s a fact.  The [current] President intends to announce we’ve negotiated a contract with Coach Fisher....

"The reason there is some sense of urgency is we’re in the middle of this presidential search and the last thing we want to do is have a brand new president … faced with having to deal with this problem. So I think that is another reason it is moving along a little bit, and a very important reason.”

“[The current focus on Fisher's head coaching contract is] driven to a great extent by some of the unfortunate comments that (Bobby’s son) Terry Bowden has made in the Alabama press that we are going to magically find $5 million to pay Jimbo Fisher off so his dad can continue to coach here. … That has hurt us in recruiting and lots of other ways....

"A couple of years ago the decision was made that he would be the coach in waiting. I think that has yielded us two good recruiting years. I think if we had not done that, we would have had dismal recruiting the past two years.  

"I think Jimbo Fisher is the real deal. I think he will be an excellent head coach. We made that decision a couple of years ago. I think it was a good decision there.”

Allow us to translate - FSU's long term football goals and Bobby Bowden's personal goals for his coaching legacy no longer meet.  Since "Saint Bobby" and FSU were able to agree on his replacement, Jimbo Fisher, Fisher now needs to actually become the coach for the good of the FSU program.

Although it is never easy for a legend to ride off into the sunset, Bowden only really has himself to blame for how his career at FSU will end.  For most FSU fans, his decline began upon Bobby's decision to make his son Jeff FSU's offensive coordinator back in 2001 replacing Mark Richt after Richt went to Georgia.  The hiring of son Jeff was opposed by the school, and Jeff's hiring coincided with FSU's downward slide.  

In Richt's time at FSU, the Noles went 120-15-1 with two national titles and two Heisman Trophy winners, Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke.  During the Jeff Bowden years, FSU went a mediocre 51-26 with no national titles.

Of course, the entire Bowden coaching legend has really taken some hits across the south starting with Terry's mid-season resignation at Auburn in 1998.  Tommy Bowden also flamed out at Clemson resigning in the middle of the 2008 season.  People forget that the 90s were the age of the Bowdens in college football.  They just couldn't keep it going.

Although it pains us to write this, the Bowdens may have also been the victim of their own egos.  We have a rule here at Swampland Sports for any college coach - never, ever think that you are more important than the program you are coaching.  All one has to do is to read the recent quote from Terry Bowden that Jim Smith referenced.  Terry was asked about his father's coaching future earlier this year by the Birmingham News:

"Pay him (Fisher).  What did they pay (former Auburn coach) Tommy Tuberville when they fired him ($5.1 million)? What are they going to pay dad when they fire him? Nothing. He's retired. I'm just saying pay him and keep going."

By saying "pay him," Terry Bowden is referencing Fisher's buyout with FSU that the school has to pay if Fisher is not the head coach by January 2011.  Clearly, he believes that his father should be able to coach as long as he wants.  He might not be completely alone in that sentiment, but FSU supporters clearly don't share this view.

Perhaps the most telling quote from Smith is this:

“We’re not paying to support an average or mediocre program.  We’re paying for a quality program, and we’re not getting that right now."

The Bowden family should recognize that Smith, his friends, and other Nole supporters make FSU football what it is.  Bobby Bowden merely had the privilege to hold the position of coach, which he did admirably for many years.

This is an anti-climactic end to an amazing legacy at FSU for Bowden.  

Honorable Mention ACC Headlines:

Miami gets big victory over Oklahoma

Wilson’s record streak comes to an end

UNC stunned by loss to Virginia

related tags

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South Carolina,
North Carolina,

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