Bowden: The Life and Legacy of Bobby Bowden [NOOK Book]

Overview

He is a giant among coaches, a Hall of Famer with a legacy that spans six full decades of coaching, and arguably the greatest Division I college football coach in history. And now Bobby Bowden finally has a biography that befits his stature: Bowden by award-winning journalist and author Mike Freeman.

Based on six years of research and interviews with Bowden himself, not to mention the Bowden family, former players, and opposing coaches, Bowden ...

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Bowden: The Life and Legacy of Bobby Bowden

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Overview

He is a giant among coaches, a Hall of Famer with a legacy that spans six full decades of coaching, and arguably the greatest Division I college football coach in history. And now Bobby Bowden finally has a biography that befits his stature: Bowden by award-winning journalist and author Mike Freeman.

Based on six years of research and interviews with Bowden himself, not to mention the Bowden family, former players, and opposing coaches, Bowden is the complete stunning story of the making of a legend.

Despite growing up in the segregated South and witnessing the ugly racism of the time, Bowden still developed into one of the most race-sensitive coaches in college history. When sick as a child, he listened to the radio and gained a taste for war strategy and for Alabama football games on Saturdays. He played football in high school but decided he wanted to be a coach. After years of turning around smaller football programs, and following a tumultuous but successful head coaching tenure at West Virginia University, Bowden accepted the post at Florida State University (FSU), a failing program that was regularly beaten by in-state rival University of Florida. In fact, just the year before Bowden became coach, in 1975, the president of FSU contemplated terminating the program altogether, particularly because the team had won only four games in the past three years.

What Bowden accomplished at FSU is nothing short of miraculous: twenty-one bowl wins and two national championships. And he was the only coach to secure a top-five ranking in the Associated Press polls for fourteen straight seasons. A brilliant tactician, he helped usher the pro passing game into college football, after initially doubting it could work on the college level. He has been an unrivaled recruiter, not only coaching his players but also becoming a surrogate father to many of them, all while producing thirty-one consensus All-Americans over the course of his tenure. He spawned one of the greatest rivalries in sports against the University of Miami. He trails only Penn State's Joe Paterno in career victories.

Along the way he has had to deal with family tragedies, scandals, and the rise and fall of his three sons' coaching careers. But he has been steadfast, with his good humor intact and with Ann, his wife of sixty years, at his side, raising a family of six children and now twenty-one grandchildren. As he nears the end of his career, though, the critics have their knives out, claiming, among many other things, that he has become a dinosaur who clings to his job so that he can win more games than Paterno.

This work examines the total Bowden and is the first of its kind on a one-of-a-kind coach. Poignant, blunt, and eye-opening, Bowden is a towering biography of a man who has left his mark on FSU and the game of college football.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061939327
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 562 KB

Meet the Author

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.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    As a frustrated Florida State football fan, I felt it was time for Bobby to hang up the headset and ride off into the sunset; unfortunately, dadgummit, I read this book and now want to give him one more year. He has certainly earned it.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    WELL DONE BIOGRAPHY

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2010

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    Posted August 27, 2011

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    Posted September 9, 2010

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