BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham and the world of college football lost a legend over the weekend. Coach Bobby Bowden, 91, passed away at his home in Florida Sunday.
Bowden spent 44 seasons coaching at Florida State University and was considered among the best coaches in the country.
“The thing that you’re not going to see a lot of is it’s going to be very rare for a coach to stay at a school as long as he did at Florida State,” said Scott Myers, executive director of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. “He had a run there where he was in the top five for about 10 or 12 years. It was remarkable.”
While at FSU, Bowden made acquaintance with Robert Crandall, a Chelsea resident who taught and coached at Briarwood Christian High School for nearly 30 years.
“He was a rather amazing man – I can tell you that,” said Crandall, a tutor and dorm director for FSU Athletics during the 1970s.
“(Bowden was) very humble. He was okay with a senator and okay with the janitor. That’s the way he was,” Crandall explained.
“He would be eating lunch with old Dick Stockton and sportscasters like that,” Crandall said. “I would be coming in for lunch and he said, ‘Bob come over here!’ and things like that. He would always include me in that kind of thing.”
“I loved the man,” Crandall said. “I would’ve done anything for him. He was like that with people. He used his influence for good constantly.”
Bowden, Myers further described, loved Birmingham and the people here.
“He loved being from Birmingham and having gone to Woodlawn High School,” Myers said. “He loved playing football at Howard College and then coaching there – now it’s Samford University.”
“What stood out to me, and one of the things that I got from him the most, is how much he loved his childhood friends,” Myers reflected. “When he was in the height of his career, every summer, he would spend two weeks in Birmingham playing golf.”
Bobby Bowden will lie in repose in Reid Chapel at Samford University from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 15 before a family service in Trussville later that night.