Legendary football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, he announced on Wednesday with his family.
Bowden, who achieved legend status at Florida State after a stint at West Virginia, released a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat announcing his diagnosis. A devout Baptist, he stated that he is “at peace.”
“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 told the Tallahassee Democrat. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing.”
Bowden, 91, started his coaching journey in college football in 1954 as an assistant at Howard College (now Samford University), before taking his first head coaching job at South Georgia State. He returned to Howard as the head coach in 1959, then made the jump to Florida state in 1963 as a wide receivers coach.
He joined Jim Carlen’s West Virginia program in 1963 as the offensive coordinator before Carlen’s departure in 1969. Bowden then took the helm in Morgantown, leading the Mountaineers to a 42-26 record over six seasons, and a Peach Bowl victory in 1975.
Bowden moved back to Florida State in 1980, taking the helm and paving the way for WVU coach Don Nehlen. With the Seminoles, Bowden won two national championships and 12 ACC titles as he compiled a 304-97-4 record in Tallahassee.
In 44 seasons as a head coach, Bowden finished with a 377-129-4 record across three programs. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
“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,” university president John Thrasher said in a statement. “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.”