I’m sure that by now you have all heard the news that Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is retiring at the end of the season. Jimbo Fisher, the offensive coordinator and coach-in-waiting, will take over as head coach next year.
This was something of a forced retirement. Bobby Bowden was given the option to return next year, but his role would have been reduced to a strictly advisory capacity, with no responsibility for the day-to-day decision making within the program. In other words, he would have been a figurehead. He would have had nothing to do except walk up and down on the sideline and look pretty. I don’t think they would have even let him hold the clipboard. They might have given him a whistle, but it would probably have been one of those deals that doesn’t make any noise because it doesn’t have the little ball inside. Of course Bobby Bowden didn’t want that, so he chose to retire.
Everyone knows that this is not the time that Bobby Bowden would have chosen to retire. Bobby Bowden was hot on the trail of Joe Paterno for the highest number of all-time career wins, and he would have loved to stick around and see if he could make it. He will not make it.
On the one hand, Bobby Bowden has been around long enough to have earned the right to determine when and under what circumstances he leaves Florida State, so it is unfortunate that it ended this way. On the other hand, it is clear that the program has regressed in recent years under Bobby Bowden, and it is understandable that they would want to make a change.
But whatever your feelings about that, it is clear that Bobby Bowden has been around for a long time and has been very successful at Florida State. He has contributed much to that program, and by extension to the game of college football. Thus he is deserving of our respect, especially on this occasion of his retirement.