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College Football Legend Bobby Bowden Reflects on Storied Career

Coach Bowden encourages a 4th quarter perspective to live and finish life with eternity as the trophied reward. Read Transcript

NARRATOR: Bobby Bowden was a college football fixture

and legend, while other coaching colleagues came and went.

His unequaled success is unlikely to be matched.

He retired with the most career wins and bowl wins of any coach

in Division I history.

People say, do you miss it?

I said, not yet.

And I've got 57 years worth, but I love to watch it.

I'll watch every game.

I'll watch every Florida State ball game.

NARRATOR: It's a Florida State loyalty

that comes after 34 years as the Seminoles head coach,

where he brought 33 straight winning seasons, two

national championships, and 12 conference titles,

closing 14 straight seasons with a fourth national ranking

or higher.

Whether in a season, game, or a quarter,

Coach Bowden strengthened his team's stance to finish strong.

As a coach, when that fourth quarter

would come, what unique challenge,

unlike any of the other quarters, does it pose?

Well, I think the big thing about the fourth quarter,

because you know how serious it is in a basketball game

or in a football game, it all comes down to that.

And the team that can survive is the one that's going to win it.

And just like me, I'm in the latter part of my life.

I've got so much to say.

And, gosh, I ain't got a lot of time to say it in, you know?

NARRATOR: With a fourth quarter urgency,

the man who once served as a surrogate father

while coaching speaks wisely from experience,

as captured in his new film "The Bowden Dynasty."

Everybody wants wisdom.

Wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord.

Now, that don't mean we're scared

He's going to strike us down, but that we

honor Him and put Him first.

And I think there's a little interesting thing there.

And I think fear drives us, but not the type of fear

that we're just scared to turn around and look around

the corner.

I guess you call it respect.

NARRATOR: Coach Bowden accentuates the principles

that equipped his players, while helping him navigate

his unprecedented achievements.

What's most misleading about the journey in getting there?

You get to the top, and there's nothing there.

You know what, the higher you go, the more lonesome it gets,

and more you're by yourself.

And to me, that's why God has got

to be the center of your life.

There's nothing else.

There is only one thing that's going

to completely satisfy you.

And that is your love for God who made you and who loves you,

and His Son Jesus.

And young people are not getting it.

How badly missed is the voice of a loving and available


I know my last two years of coaching at Florida State,

so many of my players, there was not a male figure in the home.

They're raised by mothers.

Thank God for mothers and the grandmothers.

But where in the heck is the man?

We've got to get the men staying back in the home.

The breakdown of the American home to me

is the greatest thing we're lacking right now.

Is it requiring more from head coaches and assistant coaches

today to help offset that lack?


What a great opportunity coaches have.

I just tell my coaches, man, you're

going to be the closest thing these boys ever

had to a father.

So we must act, we must accept that responsibility

to show them what a father should be like.

Don't make football your god.

You're going to be a very unhappy man if you do.

You put God ahead of football.

Football is a priority, but not the priority.

God is the priority.

Now, we must always keep that in front

of the coaches and the players.

NARRATOR: Bowden did when he coached,

and consistently, longing to reach a listening

ear with a perspective he prioritized.

I'll say it bluntly, know about Jesus.

I wanted any boy who played for me,

when they sit before God in judgment,

don't sit there telling God you ain't never heard of Jesus.

Bobby Bowden told you about Him down on Earth.

You know what, I really felt compelled to do that.

It might not be politically correct,

but I felt like when I coached a young man,

I got to be sure he gets a degree,

I got to be sure he's the best player he can possibly be,

then I want him leaving me knowing about Jesus.

NARRATOR: He's tenacious with his message,

especially after losing two grandsons in separate car


The first came in 2004, a tragedy that

also killed his son-in-law.

Coach Bobby then wrote a letter asking his immediate family

to take inventory of their spiritual lives.

We're not used to losing people younger.

We're used to losing family-- mothers, daddies, grandmothers,

granddaddies, but not children.

Oh, man, it hurts.

There's no way you can explain that,

unless you've lost one yourself.

Just plead with them again to find

Jesus Christ as their Savior.

It's a reminder to us that we're going to die too.

I'm not anxious to go, but I am prepared

if He took me right now.

What do you think you'll hear from Him when you see Him?

I think about that.

Again, at my age, you know, I was thinking, you know,

Bobby, one of these days you're going to close your eyes

and they will not open again.

And you will be looking right square at Jesus Christ.

I kind of can't wait.

He'll say, I've always loved you.

That's Him.

And I don't know, but I can't wait to hug His neck.

NARRATOR: Bobby Bowden, college football's storied coach,

whose on-field success brightens his legacy of coaching

for life-changing rewards.

I've never seen God.

I've never seen the wind either.

I've heard it.

I've felt it.

I've seen what it can do.

It's the same way about God.

I've seen what He can do.

And I've heard Him and I've felt Him.

When I see Jesus, I know exactly how God is.

He has died for my sins.

All I've got to do is accept Him.

I've got me a Savior.

To heck with everything else.

That's what matters.


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