I believe in giving a person their flowers while they are still with us and in sound mind. That sentiment brings me to Bobby Bowden and the news of his terminal illness.
Lots of players and coaches shared their thoughts about Bobby Bowden when the news broke. I thought Mike Norvell gave a great opening statement at the ACC Kickoff shortly after the news became public.
However, it was a statement later that captured the essence of Bobby Bowden. His name is synonymous with FSU football.
All of the wins, ACC Conference titles, National championships, and the streak of top 5 finishes from 1987-2000 all come to mind.
However, the legacy of Bobby Bowden lies in the impact he had on all of the players he coached over the years.
Norvell mentioned meeting with Coach Bowden early in 2020 and had a 1-on-1. After the meeting, they went down to the staff room so he would have a chance to meet the staff.
Here’s what transpired as he spoke to media row at the ACC Kickoff event:
“As I opened the door and Coach Bowden walked in I was able to see the faces of Ron Dugans and Odell Haggins…and when I saw their faces when their coach walked in. That told me everything I ever needed to know about Coach Bobby Bowden. Just who he was, what he meant to them, and that’s what I aspire to do one day and the reaction I aspire to have hopefully with the players I’m beginning to coach. It’s definitely special and an all-time great.”
What more needs to be said? That’s the ultimate respect. Bobby Bowden is well-liked and respected by friends and foes. Could you find anyone on earth that doesn’t like and respect Bobby Bowden?
I don’t know how much time he has left with us, but I’m happy to know he can still communicate and understand what’s going on. Hopefully, he’ll have a chance for everyone he has touched to reach out to him and share how important he was in their lives. I didn’t play for him, and I was impacted as a young man growing up watching the Noles in North Carolina.
To get to the end of our lives and have people share nothing but good things? To know we’ve had a positive impact on almost everyone you’ve encountered? That’s what we should all strive for, right?