When it was announced back in March that the all-time winningest coach in FBS history, Bobby Bowden, would be inducted into Florida State’s Athletic Hall of Fame Aug. 31, it was also confirmed that Bowden would be returning to Doak Campbell Stadium the next day for the first since his “parting of ways” with the football program.
As it turns out, that won’t be the case. Unless there’s another change of heart, of course.
Speaking to the Tallahassee Democrat, Bowden told the paper that “it’s still too early” to return to the place that has been his home for nearly four decades. Bowden still intends to attend the induction ceremony, but won’t be at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell for the Seminoles’ season opener Sept. 1 against Murray State.
Bowden has long reiterated a very public stance that he wants to give space to his successor, Jimbo Fisher, in order for the now-third-year FSU coach to plow his own ground in the football program.
Bowden’s last appearance at the stadium that bears his name was Nov. 21, 2009, a 29-26 win over Maryland. On Dec. 1, 2009, Bowden announced he would be retiring at season’s end; three weeks later, Bowden confirmed that he was essentially pushed out the door by certain university officials.
He would go on to coach two more games for the Seminoles following that win over the Terps and finished his 40-year head-coaching career with 377 career wins, with 304 coming with the ‘Noles. When the late Joe Paterno was stripped of dozens of wins as part of Penn State’s NCAA sanctions, Bowden became the all-time leader in wins at the highest level of college football.