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Bobby Bowden, who led the Florida State football dynasty at 91, has died

Terry, Bobby's son, confirmed to The Associated Press his father's death at home in Tallahassee (Florida), surrounded by loved ones.

Terry Bowden sent a text message to The Associated Press, saying "It was truly tranquil."

Bobby Bowden declared on July 21 that he was suffering from a terminal illness. Terry Bowden later confirmed it to be pancreatic cancer.

Bowden, a Christian devout, stated that he had always sought to fulfill God's purposes for his life. My wife Ann and our family are my greatest blessings. "I am at peace."

Bowden was loved by Seminoles fans and respected by his peers. He was also one of the most accessible college football stars throughout his career. For years, his home number was in the Tallahassee telephone book.

With Southern charm and wit, Bowden piled up 377 wins during his 40 years as a major college coach, from tiny Samford -- his alma mater, then known as Howard College -- to West Virginia and finally at Florida State, where he went 315-98-4. The Seminoles won 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships in 1993 and 1999, and were the national champions in 1999.

Florida State had an unmatched run of 14 consecutive seasons (1987-2000) finishing ranked in the top five of The Associated Press college football poll under Bowden.

The news of his death quickly spread and Alabama's Nick Saban was one of many former players and colleagues to mourn. Many flowers in Florida State's garnet-and-gold color scheme were placed on Bowden's statue outside Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. Coach Mike Norvell spoke to players before the morning practice about Bowden.

Odell Haggins was the assistant head coach and defensive coach. He played under Bowden and was a great coach.

He never spoke of winning the game. He was always concerned with saving lives. Haggins stated that this is the one thing I hope everyone sees (with him). "They talk about how many football games they won. He talks about his national championships. Consider how many lives he saved. Consider how many lives he saved.

Bowden retired after the 2009 season, which ended with a Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia. This was Florida State's 28th consecutive postseason appearance. It was Bowden's 33rd consecutive win season. The NCAA removed Florida State's victories in 10 sports a month after Bowden resigned. This was due to an academic cheating scandal involving 61 athletes in 2006 and 2007.

However, Penn State's Joe Paterno is the only major college football coach to have won more games (409) Bowden's total wins rank fourth in all college football history.

Bowden was replaced in 2010 by his offensive coordinator, Jimbo Fisher, who had been Bowden's replacement-in-waiting.

Fisher stated, "He's one the greatest human beings that has ever coached and one the greatest coaches that's ever been coached."

Bowden won the 1993 national championship with Charlie Ward, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, and again in 1999 with Chris Weinke, a second Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, and All-American receiver Peter Warrick.

For more than a decade, the Seminoles were a candidate to win every title. Florida State was defeated by Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Florida State in the national championship game. They also lost to Florida State in other games and were unable to play for the title in several seasons due to losses against archrival Miami.

Bowden once quipped that his headstone would read, "But he played Miami," a one-liner that came the day after the Hurricanes escaped with a 17-16 win in 1991 when the Seminoles missed a field goal wide right in the final seconds. Miami also won in similar fashion in 2002 when a field-goal try went wide left, much to Bowden's chagrin.

This year, both coaches who helped to create college football powerhouses throughout Florida in the 1980s have passed away. Howard Schnellenberger, the man who guided Miami to its first national title in 1983, has died at 87.

Florida State won the ACC championships under Bowden. It was the first team to win the title in 14 of the first 14 seasons since 1992, when it joined the league.

David Coburn, Florida State athletic director, stated that Bobby Bowden meant everything to Florida State athletics. He is an integral part of FSU's heart and soul, but it is more than that. He is also a significant part of the game's history.

Bowden was also the patriarch for college football's most colourful coaching family. His son Tommy Bowden was a Tulane and Clemson coach with a record of 90-49, while Terry was 47-17-1 at Auburn. Jeff was another son who spent 13 years as a wide receiver coach at Florida State. He also served six seasons as the offensive coordinator, before he resigned after Florida State's decline to its lowest production level in 25 years.

Bobby Bowden moved from West Virginia to become the head of a Florida State team in 1976. The program had only four wins in its three previous seasons. Bowden was the Seminoles' first coach and they went 5-6 that year. They never lost again.

Bowden stated that similar tasks are faced by everyone: motivation, preparation and teamwork. I get the greatest satisfaction from implementing strategies and watching them unfold.

Bowden had Florida State poised for one of the greatest runs in college football history by 1979.

The Seminoles were led by Ron Simmons, an All-American nose guard. However, they lost to Oklahoma in Orange Bowl. After nearly winning the title in 1987, 1988 and 1991, Florida State was denied its first national title in 1993.

Bowden's only perfect season was 1999, when the Seminoles were the first team to go wire to wire in the Associated Press rankings. From the start of the season to the end.

Bowden stated that the first championship was more of an exaggeration. "I believe I was able enjoy the second one more.

The success brought about a spotlight, and Bowden's program was subject to scandal at times. After several 1993 players accepted free shoes and sporting goods from local stores, the NCAA placed FSU on probation for five years. FSU was renamed "Free Shoes University" by Steve Spurrier, a former Florida coach.

Bowden was known for adapting to changing times and giving players another chance. However, critics claimed that he was not strict enough with a focus on winning.

Bowden replied, "If good manners and short hair won football games then Army and Navy would play each year for the national title."

Randy Moss was one of the most gifted athletes to ever attend Florida State. He was expelled from school following a redshirt season for using marijuana. Warrick was arrested in 1999 for a scam that involved him shopping. This led to two games suspensions and likely cost him the Heisman trophy that year.

Bowden used to say, "There's only 6 inches that turns that noose into a halo," during his good days when he was frequently called "Saint Bobby" among the Florida State faithful.

Bowden was a 34-year-old Florida State coach. The Seminoles won 10 games or more in 18 of Bowden’s 34 seasons, but they were only 74-42 when Bowden left.

Bowden lost a dozen wins due to a cheating scandal. It happened in an online music history class that ran from fall 2006 through summer 2007. According to the NCAA, some athletes received answers to exams and had papers typed for their benefit.

Bowden continued to be in the public eye even after his retirement. He wrote a book, gave speeches, and made public his 2007 treatment for prostate cancer. Partly due to the death of Paul Bryant (ex-Alabama coach), Bowden was afraid of quitting coaching.

Bowden often said, "After you retire there's only one major event left."

Bowden stayed active into his 80s, finally slowing down over the last year or so. After testing positive for COVID-19, he was admitted to the hospital in October 2020. He returned from a lengthy hospital stay to treat a leg infection and was tested for COVID-19 just days before he was discharged.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama on Nov. 8, 1929. Robert Cleckler Bowden was diagnosed with rheumatic fever at the age of seven. He attended Alabama for one semester, before returning to Howard University where he played star quarterback.

Ann, his childhood sweetheart, was the bride and remained together for 72 years.

Bowden created the Florida State program by selecting the most difficult opponents possible and playing them wherever he could, often at their stadium. After playing consecutive road games at Nebraska and Ohio State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, Bowden was dubbed "King" of the Road in 1981. He also won three of the five.

Some people gave him the nickname Riverboat gambler for his daring play-calling. Bowden's most memorable trick was performed at Clemson in 1988. With 1:33 remaining in a tie-game with Florida State's fourth-and-4, and the ball at Florida State’s 21, Bowden sent his punt team onto field. Florida State's punter leaped high into the air and acted as if he were chasing down a high snap while the upback took the ball and slipped it between his legs where LeRoy Butler grabbed it and raced 78 yards to the Clemson 1 to set up the winning field goal.

Bowden stated after the "Puntrooskie" that "we were determined somebody was going win that game."

Florida State has won many games at some of the most difficult stadiums in America over Bowden's playing career. This includes Southern California, Michigan and rival Florida. The Seminoles defeated Big Ten champion Michigan State 31-3 in East Lansing, and beat Southeastern Conference champion Auburn 34-6 on their home field.

Bowden was also regarded as one of the greatest managers of individual talents. He recruited and developed the likes Simmons, Ward Ward, Warrick and Butler.

Sanders shared the following tweet: "God Bless the Bowden Family, Friends & Loved Ones." "My prayers are with you. I've lost one of the most important coaches I've ever known."

The recruiting classes at Florida State were almost always among the best in the country. The Seminoles had a tradition of bringing star talent to the NFL every year since the 1990s. This included four of the top 19 draft picks for 2006, and Bowden was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bowden's family includes his wife Ann, sons Tommy, Jeff, Steve, and Robyn Hines, and Ginger Madden, daughters. Funeral services were held Saturday at Florida State's basketball court, the Donald L Tucker Center.

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