Bobby Bowden began his 29th season at Florida State in 2004. Gracious in both victory and defeat, Bowden is a man at peace with himself, a man with rock-solid character and firm coaching principles that date back more than 46 years. It's not enough that his coaching numbers have reached legendary proportions. Bowden also gives Florida State University a proud moral leader, a family man of the first order, a caring disciplinarian, and a calming voice in the face of the turbulence surrounding college football. Bobby Bowden is a man so closely tied with the phenomenal success of his program that he, as much as Renegade and the war chant, is Florida State football.
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Throughout his career at Florida State, Bowden has made the Seminoles a mainstay in the Associated Press polls. FSU has been ranked in the Top 25 in each of the last 216 polls dating back to the second week of the 1989 season. The Seminoles have been among the Top 10 for 99 consecutive polls and have spent 53 weeks at No. 1 since 1991, including one week last season. In 2003, Bowden led the Seminoles to their 18th 10-win season landmark. Florida State is the only school to finish among the Associated Press Top Four for 14 consecutive seasons. No team in college football history can match its run.
Bowden achieved impressive numbers in his previous coaching stops (31-6 at Samford University in Birmingham between 1959 and 1962, and 42-26 at West Virginia from 1970-75), but what he has done at FSU is simply phenomenal. Seventeen times in 25 years, his Seminoles have won 10 or more games in a season. Florida State had been to just eight bowls in the 29 years before him. The Orange Bowl marked the Seminoles 22nd since his arrival, including a string of 19 in a row and 15 "New Year's Day" trips. His win total is greater than the previous seven Seminole head coaches combined. Bowden is currently the all-time winningest football coach with 342 victories.
Since joining the league in football, FSU is 70-2 and has claimed (either outright or shared) nine ACC championships and set the league record for consecutive victories. Bowden picked up ACC Coach of the Year titles in 1993 and 1997. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1979, 1991, 1996, and 1999.
Rising above Bowden's coaching accomplishments, though, are his credentials as a man. Friendly and outgoing, he is a devoted Christian and family man. He has become somewhat of a folk hero in the south. A polished speaker, Bowden is constantly in demand. His busy coaching schedule curtails many speaking engagements, but any free evening will find him on the speaking circuit. Outside of football, Bowden has an intense interest in World War II history and reads countless books and articles on the subject. He traced his ancestry to parts of Germany and has visited the country several times.
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