Monday, September 1st, 2014

Bobby Bowden Isn’t Florida State University


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Let me first start off by saying this isn’t an Anti-Bobby post. I’m not against Bobby Bowden. I’m really not. My opinions are obvious over the last few years. I thought it was time for him to move on, or hire better assistants. Since the latter wasn’t happening on the defensive side of the ball, the former had to happen a bit earlier than Bowden might have liked. It happened, it’s over, and the Jimbo Fisher era starts now.

However, something nagged at me over the final month or two of the season, and it really started to bother me after Bobby Bowden announced his retirement. The pundits and media came out in force and turned up the volume. Former players spoke out. Many fans spoke out. No, I’m not talking about comment #1 which was, “He deserves to go out when he chooses.” I can agree to disagree on that. No, what bothered me was the statement made by many, “Bowden IS Florida State University,” or “Bobby Bowden made Florida State University.” It bothers me that players and media alike want to minimize what a great university Florida State is academically and culturally by chalking up the success and fame of FSU to ONLY the football program.

I have a problem with the statements, because as usual it ASSUMES way too much about too many of the students that attend FSU. Is it true that FSU was the “girls” school originally? Yes. But remember, Bobby Bowden and FSU Football had absolutely nothing to do with the change from a female-only institution to a coed one. If that change hadn’t been made so many years ago, Bobby Bowden wouldn’t have “made FSU.” It wouldn’t have been there to make. If Bowden hadn’t resurrected the FSU football program, would FSU look differently today? Yes, but it would still be here with other, different successes.

Let me share a little story:

Once upon a time a young man that grew up a Miami Hurricane fan was accepted to the University of Miami. He set foot on the campus and his gut immediately told him that Miami wasn’t the place for him. He wasn’t meant to be a ‘Cane. There was somewhere else for him. That same man eventually took a tour of Florida State University. FSU was in major transition with renovations going on everywhere, and the sleepy City of Tallahassee starting to slowly wake up a bit. FSU and Tallahassee were home.

None of that had anything to do with the football program. I can tell you that story, because it is my own. I didn’t grow up a Seminole. I didn’t grow up a fan of the Noles. I didn’t know the fight song at the first game, and I didn’t know too much about Bobby Bowden either (blasphemy, I know). I knew it would be fun to watch good football, live and consistently for the first time in my life (I had only been to one Jets game as a child in Connecticut). But, the football team had nothing to do with me going to FSU. It had nothing to do with thousands of students that went to FSU.

What happened was a perfect storm of events. An improving athletics situation, combined with the boom of the 1990′s and the ability to bring in money to expand campus, plus exploding television coverage of EVERYTHING including college sports and tossed with the explosion of the Internet, bloggers, Tweeters and everything else. Does anyone really think I’d be a fan of Boise State University if they weren’t on ESPN in the middle of the week? Sure it’s ONE WAY people hear about a university, but it’s not the only way. There are thousands of parties responsible for making FSU a popular destination for graduating high school seniors. If you’re a Nole, you’re part of it. You’re part of spreading that word and taking care of the FSU community. The success of FSU isn’t attributable to one man. Let’s remember that as we start a new decade and make more history together as Seminoles.


23 Responses to “Bobby Bowden Isn’t Florida State University”
  1. Joe MarshallNo Gravatar says:

    Actually, it’s not true that FSU was a “girl’s school originally”. Florida State College existed for about 55 years before the legislature made it into a college for women in 1906. And, there was a football team prior to 1906.

  2. JasonNo Gravatar says:

    its not saying he made the School but he got the school known. i would have never known about FSU had it not been for the football program. you can say there are other ways of find out but for sports people ESPN and all that is where we find out about different schools. so he brought the school to light for alot of people who didnt live in the florida area. you say you wanted to go to miami how did you hear about the school at such a young age. im sure you wernt on line looking up different colleges. but i bet you knew all about UCOONN cause you lived in the state. yea there are other reasons to go to different schools but in todays world most of the kids are looking for the athletic scholarship and trying to find what schools are the best for them to succeed. most of the kids now arent even staying in college to get the degree but to get in build on their skills and get to the pros. so yes he did Make the football program which in turn brought alot of light to FSU as a whole. Especially for NON Florida Residents.

    • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

      Actually I knew much more about Miami than UConn back then, because the UConn basketball program was only just starting to become prominent. It was a very, very small school in the middle of cow pasture CT.

      In reality, when the time came to make a decision about college, it wasn’t based on my love a sports team. I never considered FSU prior to thinking that I wanted to be a meteorology major. FSU was one of the few (including Miami) that offered it.

      • Pete says:

        You completely argued against you’re own argument. You lived in CT but knew more about Miami because the CT basketball program was small but UM Football wasn’t. I’m glad you found a school in FSU that offered you a meteorology degree but 85,000 people never filled a stadium to watch a meteorology experiment.

  3. wolffbird7No Gravatar says:

    I guess we all will continue to debate Bobby’s role for weeks, months, maybe years to come. I think why I am more than OK with the “Bobby made FSU” comments are the importance that society puts on image. There were the player scandals that happened, but Bobby and his staff were never implicated as being part of the deeds… he just always seemed to care enough to give people a chance, and not just “stars”. Bobby was a public face for FSU that was likable and honest and open to scrutiny. I think the Jeff Bowden situation took a bit of the shine off, but hey… I would do anything for my son and if the school had of felt it was a bad hire, THEY should of stepped in then, not after the fact. Bobby was loyal to his crew and I admire that. Look around the college game now, wow. There is so much upheaval and job hopping that there will never be another Bowden era to compare and contrast with the one we enjoyed. I will miss him and the interviews and the “feel” he brought to the program. I am a seminole through and through, but it will never be the same. I wish Jimbo the best of luck and I will continue to support with my heart and my money. I just wish Bobby had of had 2010 and when we win 9 or 10 games next year… he would of been leaving a BCS bowl with a top 10 ranking and now THAT would be a happy ending. Go ‘Noles and God bless Bobby!

    • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

      “Bobby was a public face for FSU that was likable and honest and open to scrutiny.”

      Likeable? Yes. Honest? I think so. Open to scrutiny? Not that I remember. Ask P.T. Willis or anybody else that questioned the High School Offense.

      • wolffbird7No Gravatar says:

        Open to scrutiny, just like being a Christian does not mean you let people run over you or say/do as they wish. Bobby was always there, front and center, and did answer the questions. Hey, I am a 30+ year Bowdenite or whatever I have been called on TN and other sites. Was he never to be questioned? lol NO. He made mistakes, but in the whole body of his work he was right many more times than not and the CEO of FSU football did a pretty good job. The past 5 years I think was the result of plenty, and not ALL of it could of been avoided or planned for. DOWN CYCLE… it sure as heck was nothing like the Penn State tailspin back in the early 2000′s and the Michigan/ND of today. Nebraska is coming back and I think we will too. And it will be sweet whomever is coach! uhhh… except Steve Spurrier! I would have to stray if he ever led the ‘Noles! lol

    • Luvunoles says:

      If you truly believe that FSU would have had 9 or 10 wins next year with Bobby at the helm, then you would be negating Fisher’s contribution to the improvement of the team. Bobby has not been coaching up close and personal for some time. In his own words, Bobby’s been more of the CEO. If you attended any of the home games, you would have observed Bowden some distance away from the action and rarely putting on the headphones. Would you be supporting Coach Amato as the defensive Coordinator? Do you believe that Amato would have turned things around defensively? Amato and Andrews have not recruited as many quality players for 5+ years. Bobby’s loyalty would have enabled Amato to stay in the picture and he has contributed little to FSU wins. Why do you think our defense would have improved next year under Bobby Bowden? Take note of the recruits who signed up for defense since Bowden announced his retirement? Sadly, this fan expects more wins next year because Bowden will not be in the picture.
      I applaud the legendary Coach Bowden and wish him well, but his time to leave came and went over the last several years.

      • wolffbird7No Gravatar says:

        attended 3 of the home games this year. I think the CEO position was safe in his hands 1 more season, and would of been… but the defensive coaching changes after Mickey announced retiring were going to require his blessing and that pesky loyalty thing reared it’s head. At any rate, what’s done is done… I do want good things, but this type of marriage between coach/team is so rare, it could of been handled better at the end. my 2-cents

        • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:


          I DO agree that the situation was handled poorly. I mean the president and AD sent two kids out there to explain things… that was rather pathetic.

  4. Noleit says:

    We all have our likes and dislikes, but for me(season ticket holder)I’m glad he is GONE! I’ve had enough of him and his smartAss wife(It’s time to go home 7 years to late).It became apparent that he forgot who paid his salary.

  5. Great post, NoleCC. Although I would’ve loved to see Bobby get one final farewell season, I agree that difficult decisions had to be made. I’ve said my goodbye, commemorated a great career, but am now focused on 2010 and Coach Fisher. Besides, those fans that stay in the past won’t be able to enjoy the dynasty of the future.

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Nice post – I too grew up a huge Canes fan and actually got very nostalgic watching the “The U” documentary re-run on ESPN the other night. Converted though after attending law school in ’98 and have been a fan ever since. I actually think that being a UM fan offers some perspective that FSU fans don’t have in that the institution is always larger than the coach – it was obviously never about the coach even when Jimmy was running the helm. But most fans have only known Bobby which is why it is so hard for them to let him go.

    • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

      That’s an excellent point Chris. Miami did all of that with a bunch of coaches. The fanbase is used to winning, but winning with different cogs. FSU isn’t yet, because Bobby was here so long. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but you are absolutely correct in why the perspectives might be so different.

  7. DKfromVANo Gravatar says:

    Nice job, CC. Another thing I’ll throw in to your perfect storm of events allowing for the rise of FSU football were the Miami and UF probations of the 80′s and early 90′s that allowed us to cherry pick the top talent in Florida. That was back when NCAA probation actually hurt a school’s recruiting.

  8. RobertNo Gravatar says:

    I agree that the “BB IS FSU” statement is ridiculous. What if FSU never hired BB or if he left early in his FSU career? How in the world could we ever know that we may have been even better for it? We don’t know. We will never know (unless someone figures out a way to tap into alternate realities.)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Bobby Bowden is the ONLY reason people outside of Florida know about FSU.

    • NoleCCNo Gravatar says:

      I know that this is inconceivable for many, but there are people out there that don’t follow college football, but would know the FSU Circus, many of our non-athletic famous grads and those from our Arts and Music departments.

  10. Pete,

    I understand what you’re getting at, but my point is that at the end of the day I didn’t choose a school because of a great football team (Miami). I picked a school for the school and it happened to have a great football team (FSU).


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  1. [...] NoleCC posted a lengthy piece on why he was opposed to people saying statements such as “Bobby Bowden is FSU” or “Bobby Bowden made FSU”. He claims Florida [...]

  2. [...] NoleCC posted a lengthy piece on why he was opposed to people saying statements such as “Bobby Bowden is FSU” or “Bobby Bowden made FSU”. He claims Florida [...]