Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Fleeting Glimpse of Bobby Bowden

In case you haven't heard, Coach Bobby Bowden has a new book.

Of course, I don't know how you couldn't have heard - he's been all over the airwaves playing it up, and answering the inevitable (and oft-repeated) questions about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from Florida State. Now it's fair to say that I've never been much of a Florida State fan, preferring instead to side with my home-state Virginia Tech Hokies, but Bowden to me has always been an entertaining guy. His interviews and press conferences have always been fun to watch, and over the years he's never seemed to lose touch with his Alabama roots (even with his connections to FSU and West Virginia).

Over the past few days, I've learned more about him than I have in previous years, and I like what I've learned. It's certainly been enough to tempt me to read more, and as such I'm looking forward to reading his new volume, Called to Coach. But the interviews and book tour also jogged memories of my brief brush with the coach four years ago - if you call being in the same stadium with him as a brush.

In 2006,I was in Florida for a relaxing weekend with several guys from my college days, and we had stopped at FSU to pick up one of our friends who still worked for the university. While waiting to depart, I was given a quick peek inside the football stadium - an impressive sight indeed. I was surprised to find that Bowden, his coaching staff and the team had just finished up a practice and were gathered in the center of the field. He was certainly easy to pick out - the famous hat being a great homing beacon - and because I had my camera with me I was able to snap several photos.

Coach, I know the Seminole nation will miss you and your presence on the field, but I hope you enjoy retirement and your time with the family. Your team cost the Hokies a national title a few years back, and that's a grudge that I know will hang over Blacksburg for a long time, but you were always a class act. College football will definitely not be the same this season.

These pictures are for you...

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