Legendary FSU football coach Bowden 'at peace' with terminal diagnosis

Florida St Bowden Football
Posted at 12:15 PM, Jul 22, 2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Legendary Florida State football coach, 91-year-old Bobby Bowden, has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition.

Bowden confirmed to WTXL on Wednesday that reports of a terminal illness are correct and says he's "at peace." He is currently being cared for at his home.

"I've always tried to serve God's purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bowden said in a released statement. "My wife Ann and our family have been life's greatest blessing. I am at peace."

The former coach tested positive for the coronavirus in October 2020. Bowden had been hospitalized at TMH for nearly two weeks with a leg infection before this hospital stay.

In 2018, Bowden talked about being very sick at a young age.

“Thirteen years of age, I had rheumatic fever and had to go to bed for a year. I had to drop out of school. Thank goodness I got over it and was able to play high school football my last two years at Woodlawn.”

lou Holtz, Bobby Bowden
FILE - In this Dec. 31, 1975 file photo, North Carolina State football coach Lou Holtz, left, congratulates West Virginia coach Bobby Bowden atop the shoulders of his players after West Virginia's 13-10 win in the Peach Bowl college football game in Atlanta. A person familiar with the decision says Florida State coach Bobby Bowden will retire after the Seminoles play in a bowl game. Bowden will retire as the second winningest coach in major-college football behind Penn State's Joe Paterno. The 80-year-old Bowden has won 388 games in 44 seasons as a head coach. (AP Photo/File)

"Bobby Bowden has meant everything to Florida State athletics and so much to college football in general," the director of FSU Athletics, David Coburn, said. "He has influenced so many people beyond just the players he coached and the staff who had the privilege of working with him. He is a part of the heart and soul of FSU, but it goes beyond even that – he is a big part of the history of the game. Anyone who has had the opportunity to be around Coach Bowden knows what it is like to know a person who has his priorities in the right order, who loves life and values integrity and honor."

On how he wants to be remembered, Bowden had this to say:

That I served God’s purpose for my life…I’ve had writers ask me what I want my legacy to be, it’s not anything to do with football, I want it to be that he served God’s purpose with his life. And I hope I have. I haven’t done as good as I should, but I’ve tried.

Current head football at FSU, Mike Norvell, sent prayers to the "incredible man who is loved by so many."

Governor Ron DeSantis awarded Bobby Bowden the Florida Medal of Freedom on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.


The legendary former head football coach at Florida State University, Bowden became the inaugural recipient of the award.

Bowden was included on ESPN's list of the 150 greatest head coaches in the last 150 years of college football in 2019.

Bobby Bowden
Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden receives a congratulatory hug after FSU defeated Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Jan. 1, 1994. Bowden is going for his first national college football championship. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

"Jean and I are deeply saddened about the news on our friend, the legendary Bobby Bowden, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to Bobby, Ann, and the entire Bowden family," said Dr. John Thrasher, the president of FSU. "Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class, and a sense of humor. Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family."

The Bowden family asked for privacy as they deal with his health.

WTXL first reported this story.