Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden was surprisingly one of the most outspoken critics of Joe Paterno in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal, saying his coaching contemporary was “a little negligent” in how he handled allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of his former assistant.
With Paterno reportedly gravely ill and near death, Bowden told the Miami Herald that he prefers to focus on the overwhelming amount of good his long-time friend brought to the game.
“Just remember the good things. I don’t remember the bad things. He didn’t have many bad things. I would only remember the good things,” the 82-year-old Bowden told the Miami Herald. “He and I spent a lot of time together. We played him 10 times at West Virginia and played him twice when I was at Florida State in bowls. I never beat him in Pennsylvania. He had too many good players.”
Bowden was getting set to coach one side of the Battle of Florida all-star game when the news of Paterno’s deteriorating health began to break. On the opposite sideline in the game was Howard Schnellenberger, who expressed how saddened he was over the developments.
“I’m distraught that this is happening to him,” said the 77-year-old Schnellenberger told the Herald.
“All of this happened to him so fast. I hope he can pull through it if he has the ability or the chance to improve. The University of Miami’s successes are tied real closely to him, the games we played together. We played three times. Everyone of them was a big struggle knowing we were going up against the best coach in America. The last two months have been a terrible thing [for him].”