The news of Bowden’s illness shook the college football world during media days. Bowden is considered one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, but many who know him say it’s the man off the field that truly makes him an icon.
“Not only one of the greatest football coaches that’s ever lived, but one of the greatest human beings that’s ever lived,” Texas A&M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher said on Wednesday.
Coach Bowden is top 5 in wins all time in the sport.
“Well, he’s a legend,” Samford AD Martin Newton said.
Mississippi Head Coach Mike Leach told the press at SEC Media Day that Bowden inspired so many in the game.
“Been the example to all of us. You know, he’s one of those guys that made us all want to coach when we were younger,” Leach said.
Before Bowden became the legend he was at Florida State, the Birmingham native played and coached football at Howard College, or Samford University.
“There is a statue in front of our football stadium. Our field is the Bobby Bowden Field. And he’ll be remembered here for a long time,’ Newton said.
Newton believes Bowden is a true ambassador of the university.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the president, a janitor, if you’re the athletics director, everybody he came in contact with, he treated with such respect,” Newton said.
Coach Fisher also reflected on his relationship with Coach Bowden. While he’s worked for big name coaches like Nick Saban, he says Bowden truly taught him everything he knows.
“The philosophies I have offensively still reside with Coach Bowden and Florida State and the things he meant to us,” Fisher said.
And Coach Fisher is forever thankful for the Bowden family.
“But how importantly, Bobby was what he treated me like, and when I was coaching under him, what I learned,” Fisher said.
Though the news Wednesday was tough, everyone believes Bobby Bowden’s impact on college football will last forever.
“He’s a tremendous guy and I don’t think the game would be the same without him,” Leach said.
“It’s very sad, but at the same time, he’s lived a tremendous life and impacted a lot of great people,” Fisher said.