BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Former Samford football player and coach, and college football legend Bobby Bowden passed away Sunday morning after a short illness.
"Bobby Bowden was a legend and was one of the greatest ambassadors Samford has ever had," Samford Director of Athletics Martin Newton said. "It didn't matter if you were the president or the janitor, he treated everyone he met with such respect. He will be remembered here for a long time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Ann, and the entire Bowden family."
The name Bobby Bowden is synonymous with college football. The Birmingham native won 377 games over his long career as a head coach at Samford, West Virginia and Florida State.
Bowden played on the freshman team at Alabama in 1948 before transferring to Samford (then Howard College), where he played from 1949 to 1952. As a quarterback, Bowden earned Little All-America honors as a senior in 1952.
While serving as head coach at his alma mater from 1959 to 1962, Bowden amassed a record of 31-6. In four seasons as the Bulldogs' head coach, Bowden's teams posted records of 9-1, 8-1, 7-2 and 7-2, winning a school-record 83.8 percent of his games.
He was hired as the head coach at West Virginia in 1970, and served in that role until 1975. In six seasons at West Virginia, he posted a record of 42-26.
In 1976, Bowden began his legendary run at Florida State. During his time with the Seminoles, Bowden won 304 games, and he led the program to the 1993 and 1999 national titles. Bowden's teams won 12 ACC titles, winning league championships in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He was an inaugural member of the Samford Athletics Hall of Fame when it opened in the spring of 2017. During the 2013 football season, a statue of Bowden was placed just outside the east gate of Seibert Stadium.