By Devon POV Mason | Shadow League reporter
If you’re familiar with college football in the 1990’s and early 2000’s the Florida State Seminoles were arguably the standard program.
Their games against Notre Dame and Miami, just to name a few programs, were legendary.
Who can forget seeing them run onto the field at Doak Campbell Stadium behind Renegade and Chief Oseola as he stuck the spear into the turf.
Leading the team was ole’ Bobby Bowden the witty and folksy leader of “The Noles.”
He patrolled that sideline with a cool and calm demeanor that translated to the field as his teams were downright dominant, poised and prolific during that run.
On Sunday, we lost the iconic figure who turned Florida State football into an elite pigskin factory.
Bowden was 91 years and passed after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was a college football iconoclast who took the FSU program to heights never seen before when he was given the reigns in 1976.
He was a primary figure in ushering the pro-style high-powered offensive attacks that prepared his players for the NFL at a high clip.
In his 34 years in Tallahassee, Bowden took what was a middling “Noles” program to the ranks of the college football elite, punctuated by national championships in 1993 and 1999.
His 377 career victories are the second most in FBS history.
Bowden, was a transcendent personality known for his disarming wit in addition to his wisdom.
Bowden was highly respected and admired by peers, but also by countless folks across all walks of life, not just sports but an even broader society in general.
He battled COVID-19 in 2020, and in typical Bowden fashion and although visibly weakened from his bout, he came up victorious.
Who can forget him returning to the program in 2013 after a few years away to plant the spear in a game against NC State?
During his tenure, FSU saw 167 players drafted and 34 were taken in the first round.
Those players include perennial All-Pros, Hall of Famers and legends like Deion Sanders, Derrick Brooks, Terrell Buckley, Warrick Dunn, Peter Boulware, Reinard Wilson, Andre Wadsworth, Corey Simon, Jamal Reynolds and Alex Barron.
Bowden boasted two Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks in the ultimate field general Charlie Ward (1993) and level-headed Chris Weinke (1999).
If he’d had a placekicker he probably would have four or five “Nattys.”
A couple wide rights against archrival Miami and tough losses to Florida are the only thing that derailed that notion.
From 1987-2000, Bowden led the Noles to 14 consecutive 10-plus win seasons.
They were also ranked top five in the Associated Press Top 25 at one point in every one of those seasons.
With 12 Atlantic Coast Conference titles to boot as well 1992-2000, 2002-03 and 2005. The Noles joined the ACC in 1991, but didn’t play football in conference until 1992.
They didn’t lose a conference game until FSU’s fourth season in the ACC (1995-96).
From 1985-95 he led the program to 11 consecutive bowl game wins.
In July, Bowden’s last statement let us know he was at peace with his life:
“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I’m prepared for what is to come,” he said in a statement after being diagnosed with a terminal disease. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.
Bobby Bowden left his mark on the game.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) August 8, 2021
“Don’t go to the grave with life unused,” is something Bowden stated in many postgame and pregame pressers.
It’s safe to say he used his for the betterment of many student-athletes and people of all walks of life.
No matter how someone mistreats you, he always said, “treat ‘em good.”
He did just that …. Rest up coach …. Job well done!