Mike Freeman is an NFL Insider for CBSSports.com. Before that, he was an NFL writer, investigative reporter, and columnist for the New York Times; a columnist for the Florida Times-Union; and a sports reporter, features writer, and investigative writer for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Dallas Morning News. He lives in New Jersey.
Bowden: How Bobby Bowden Forged a Football Dynastyby Mike Freeman
Bowden is the definitive biography of one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, Bobby Bowden, and the first family of football. Journalist Mike Freeman provides an in-depth and insightful look inside the life and mind of the iconic Florida State University coach and family man. Sweeping and emotional, Bowden not only highlights Bobby’s gridiron glory but also chronicles the family members’ very human events, including tragic deaths, criminal indictments, and loss of jobs and fortunes.
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- NOOK Book
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I graduated from Florida State way back in 1997, smack dab in the middle of FSU's finest decade. My memories are filled with spectacular Warrick Dunn runs, devastating Peter Boulware sacks, and fantasticly humorous Steve Spurrior visor tosses. I attended or watched every game, laughed or cried on every snap, and I was rarely disappointed with the outcome. To this day, my weekend plans are arranged around FSU football, and my weekend demeanor is subconsciously controlled by a win or a loss; and, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't have it any other way. And for all this joy, this passion, this unadulterated (some might say unbalanced) mania, I have one person to thank: Bobby Bowden. I used to work as an intern for the Florida State Sports Marketing Department and had the pleasure of seeing Coach Bowden from time to time as he came to or left from his office. Though our conversation basically consisted of a "Hi, Coach" from me and a "Hey, bud" from him, I would always sense a warm and friendly disposition, a fatherly mien, as if he certainly wouldn't have minded any kind of conversational follow-up to whatever quick, generic, awe-saturated greeting that would escape my lips. Basically, he just always seemed to be a really nice guy. And, after reading this book, my opinion has only been strengthened. In this book, Mike Freeman takes you through the Coach's life, from an ailing poor boy in rural Alabama to a larger-than-life football icon, with a continuous focus on the influences of God and family. The access that Mike was able to receive, specifically from Coach Bowden's wife and sons, has allowed him to paint a fascinating, yet completely factual picture of the depth and the drive of the Coach's character, as well as the strength and genuineness of the Coach's faith. Mike's exhausting research of old newspaper articles and magazine stories also help in displaying the sentiment of the masses, as Bowden grows in experience from school to school and from position to position. I just re-read that last paragraph, and, though I agree with every word, that sounded a little to "critic-y". Here's how I'd describe it to a friend: This was a good book. If I can read a 300 page book in less than a week, I know that I enjoyed the book. This one only took me three days. I like how Mike writes. It's easy to read and Bobby's history makes for a very interesting story. For some reason, I haven't seen many books on Coach Bowden, and with the recent announcement of his 'forced' retirement, it has certainly come out at the perfect time. I started reading this book as a Florida State fan who felt like he knew a lot about Bowden, but I learned so much more. I was really encouraged by just how good of a person he is. It's very hard to read so many good things about his character and than see so many horrible stories about uneducated kids in the program, undisciplined behaviour, disrespect, etc. As a fan of the program, it hurts publicly; and as a fan of Coach Bowden, it hurts a little personally. I think the book could have focused a little more time or energy on delving into Bowden's response to this. I think Mike tried to get into the hard stuff, but I felt a little empty with the result; however, for the majority of the book, I enjoyed it and was thoroughly entertained. I would certainly suggest this book as a Christmas present for any college football fan.
Not perfect but very entertaining and thorough. You learn things about Bowden you didn't before and the book tells Bowden's story well. Best parts are about what Bowden overcame to become great. Plus good family stuff. I found it highly enjoyable as a college football fan.