BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Hundreds of family, friends, colleagues and community members gathered at Reid Chapel on Samford University’s campus Sunday to pay tribute to Bobby Bowden.
The Birmingham native and former head coach at Samford passed away at his home in Florida last Sunday of pancreatic cancer.
Bowden’s family says he lived by three pillars: family, faith and football.
Bowden’s career in football began in Birmingham back in the 1950s.
“Coach Bowden started his career here at Howard College (Samford University) as a student, then a coach. He then stayed connected with Samford for all of those years. People around here (Birmingham) love coach as you know there’s a statute of coach outside of the stadium here on campus,” said Samford University President Beck Taylor.
To honor Bowden and his family, Samford held a visitation that drew in hundreds of people wanting to pay their respects to the family.
“We’re here to celebrate the life of Bobby Bowden. He passed a week ago, it was sad for all of us but were celebrating the fact that as he was when he went to school here a man of faith didn’t know exactly where he was going,” said Bowden’s son Terry Bowden.
After kicking off his career in Birmingham, Coach Bowden’s career took him to West Virginia University and then Florida State University where he coached 44 seasons.
“My dad will always be known as a football coach, but to those that knew him, he was a strong Christian that shared his faith and shared his testimony,” said Terry.
Terry’s walking in his father’s footsteps as he is the current head coach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
“How to play with class and to win with class and lose with class, how your players should act, all those things that are important to learn so we learned that by a great example. I think as you see all the coaches that have commented about my father around the country, it was about the way he coached football more important than the wins and plays he taught and things like that,” said Terry.
On Monday, Coach Bowden will be laid to rest next to his mother and father at a Trussville cemetery.