Bowden won’t apologize for invite
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ó Florida State coach Bobby Bowden isn’t apologizing for his team being picked for a New Year’s Day bowl game despite its 6-6 record.
The Gator Bowl invited Florida State a day after the iconic coach announced his retirement, pitting the Seminoles against Bowden’s prior employer, 18th-ranked West Virginia.
“We’re the fortunate ones in my opinion to be there because there are other teams that have better records, but I’m glad we’re there,” Bowden said. “1978, we were 8-3 and did not get a bowl bid and there were other people who got ’em with poorer records. We felt like we had not been done right.”
Bowden is also happy that he’ll go out against West Virginia, the school the Seminoles played to start their string of 28 straight bowl invitations.
“I guess it was meant to be,” Bowden said about his career finale against a school where he spent 10 years while his children grew up. “I’ve always felt like things were meant to be.”
Bowden also said he might reunite with some of his former Moutaineers players during the bowl trip.
Earlier Tuesday in Thomasville, Ga., Bowden told about 300 people attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast that he plans to spend more time sharing his Christian beliefs after he leaves the sidelines for the final time.
“I’m going to evangelize,” Bowden said. “That’s what I want to do. I want to do a lot of speaking.”
Bowden said that upon reflecting on his life, God wanted him to be a football coach. But now, he said, there are other challenges, most notably in the area of promoting Christianity and talking to young people about their priorities in life.
“I’ve always felt like God directs your life,” he said afterward. “Many times I’ve asked him how long does he want me to coach? You know, what happened last week it was God telling me, hey, get out.”‘
Bowden said he and his wife, Ann, made the decision two days after losing a sixth straight game to archrival Florida.
“At my age, I’m past the years for coaching,” Bowden said. “There is a peace, knowing that you have no more worry about what goes along with that job,” Bowden said. “No more recruiting, no more raising money, no more worry about grades, no more worry about conduct.”