Only Bobby Bowden Still Thinks He Can Coach at Florida State
Bowden said Florida State forced him out after last season.
This is news?
Only if you were on Mars the past five years. Everybody saw it coming, and everybody could see how the remarkable story Bowden authored at FSU was not going to have a happy ending.
The only revelation Tuesday was that Bowden is still blind to the reasons he was let go. And all that did was confirm FSU did the right thing.
"Fired might be a little strong," Bowden told the Associated Press. "Pushed out ain't bad. I was pushed, no doubt about it."
He said that at the kickoff of a book tour in New York. It's standard promotional procedure to pluck something controversial from a book to generate buzz. If this is the best his publicists could come up with, Danielle Steele has nothing to worry about.
It was obvious that Bowden was going to give up his job when FSU pried his cooling fingers off it. All we're learning now are minor details on how it went down.
Florida destroyed FSU in the season's last game. FSU President T.K. Wetherell went to Bowden the next day with two options. He could become an "ambassador" for the program, or his old coaching contract would not be renewed and he'd simply walk away.
The fact Bowden walked away so quietly spoke volumes. The second-winningest coach in history didn't attend his farewell press conference, such as it was. The school simply put out a press release full of canned quotes of praise all around.
"I didn't want them to spread the story that I voluntarily, happily resigned," Bowden said.
Nobody thought he did. And nobody, except perhaps Florida fans, was happy that his exit wasn't a glorious ride into the sunset.
What's sad now is that Bowden thinks FSU forced him out, when he was the one who forced the situation. After yet another 7-6 season, how much more proof did Bowden need that he couldn't resurrect the once-mighty Seminoles?
"I didn't want but one more year," he said. "Gosh, I'm 80."
Wetherell had already given him about three too many "one more years." What would one more year have accomplished, other than delay the rebuilding?
You don't win 389 games without self confidence. Maybe the only person who could have made Bowden see his own coaching mortality was his wife, Ann. But she'd always believed in her husband as much as he believed in himself.
There were going to be hard feelings, and Bowden said his relationship with his one-time pal Wetherell is irreparably strained. But again, whose fault is that? How many more bones could the president throw him before fans stormed the administration building?
Now it's Penn State's turn to deal with the Legend Who Won't Leave. The difference is the Nittany Lions are not deteriorating before our eyes. That's probably worse, since it only encourages Joe Paterno to stick around until he's 100.
Giants like Joe Pa and Bobby B. deserve to go out on their own terms, unless those terms become ridiculous. Imagine a one-year Bowden Farewell Tour.
He could have been given a rocking chair at North Carolina State, then lost 28-21. Miami would have presented him with a gold watch, then somebody would have stolen it as the 'Canes celebrated FSU missing a last-second field goal to win.
Urban Meyer would have simply shown up and crushed Bowden in his last home game. Though Florida fans might have showered Bowden with adult diapers as he jogged off the field.
As unpleasant as last year's end was, this year's would have been worse. Now FSU fans are looking ahead with optimism instead of dread.
Jimbo Fisher is saying and doing all the right things. He just got a verbal commitment from James Wilder Jr., supposedly the nation's top recruit. It's safe to say that wouldn't have happened if nothing had changed in Tallahassee.
Bowden has stayed busy speaking to churches and other groups the past few months. That's one thing he will do well until the day he dies, if not longer.
He said he'll always pull for FSU, and the best thing he can do for now is stay out of Fisher's way. But for some reason he felt he needed to set the record straight.
We understand, Bobby. You were pushed out.
If only you'd understand why.