Bobby Bowden Gets Roasted
Papa Bowden, Florida State's veteran head football coach, was roasted Wednesday night in Tallahassee, Fla., by family, friends and colleagues. The lineup included Georgia coach Mark Richt, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne and former FSU players Chris Weinke, Ron Simmons and Burt Reynolds.
Texas coach Mack Brown, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz lobbed their Bowden barbs by video.
Osborne, who went 2-6 against Bowden and lost the 1994 Orange Bowl for the national title, explained why Bowden and his former long-time assistant Jim Gladden stopped playing golf together. "Would you want to play golf with a guy that tees it up in the rough and gives himself a 10-foot putt? Jim didn't want to either," Osborne said.
Holtz apologized for missing the event, saying he really wanted to be in attendance because "Steve Spurrier said everyone who attends FSU gets free shoes," referring to the 1993 scandal that saw prospective agents pay for an after-hours, shopping spree for at least seven FSU football players at a local mall's Foot Locker store during the team's national championship season.
Richt, a former offensive coordinator under Bowden at FSU, told of Ann Bowden asking her husband: "Do you love me more than football?" Bowden replied: "College or pro?"
The witty Bowden was just as quick on the draw, however.
Bowden said when FSU played Nebraska in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl he noticed how often Osborne complained to the officials when the Seminoles were on offense. "It went on the whole ball game and in the fourth quarter an official came by and I said, 'What the heck is he upset about? What is wrong with him?'" Bowden said. "The official said he thinks you all are doing something illegal and I had to convince him that is legal.
"It's called the forward pass."
The roast, held at FSU's University Center, kicked off the 60th year of the Tallahassee Quarterback Club. Bowden, 79, of course, has been in the coaching biz for nearly six decades, 43 years as a head coach, accumulating 382 career Division-I victories, one fewer than 82-year-old Joe Paterno.
The NCAA, however, has stripped Bowden of 14 wins as part of FSU's punishment for academic fraud, a decision that, if upheld despite FSU's current appeal, will end that historic chase. Paterno has repeatedly argued the NCAA shouldn't end the race for the all-time wins record. Bowden readily agrees with JoePa but says it "isn't anything I would cut my wrist over" if the NCAA stands by its ruling. A final decision is not expected until this fall, according to school officials.
An open-government lawsuit filed in Tallahassee to force release of documents in FSU's appeal will get a day-long hearing in August to settle what lawyers have called a groundbreaking case. More than a dozen Florida newspapers and television stations in June sued the NCAA and FSU for the release of documents in an ongoing appeal of athletic-program sanctions.
While the NCAA eventually gave FSU officials permission to release previously withheld public documents in the university's appeal of NCAA sanctions, FSU had to transcribe the information, which still resides only on a single secure Web site that does not permit printing or downloading. Tallahassee Judge John Cooper set an Aug. 5 date for a final hearing to settle the public-records case.
And, in case you are wondering just how long Bowden, who has been at FSU as a head coach for 33 years, plans to coach, he recently told the media he knows about when he wants to retire but he won't spill the beans. Bowden said FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, head coach-in-waiting, knows Bowden's thoughts on when he'll resign. Fisher would receive $5 million if FSU does not offer him the job as Bowden's successor by Jan. 10, 2011.
Terry Bowden -- Bobby's son and the first-year coach at the University of North Alabama -- believes his father should coach as long as he wants, regardless of any promised payout by FSU and Fisher.
"Pay him (Fisher)" Terry told the Birmingham (Ala.) News. "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."