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Bobby Bowden, former South Georgia College and FSU head football coach, has died at 91

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Featured Bobby Bowden Photo courtesy of South Georgia State College Bobby Bowden

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Former Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden, who began his head coaching career at then-South Georgia College in 1955, has died from pancreatic cancer. He was 91.


South Georgia State College released a statement this morning regarding Coach Bowden’s passing: “Our deepest condolences to the family, friends and players of Coach Bobby Bowden. Coach Bowden started his head coaching career at SGC in Douglas, Ga., from 1955 - 1958 and has returned to campus annually to spend time with his former team. He will be missed!”


Coach Bowden had successfully battled cancer three times in the past and went through a debilitating bout with COVID-19 in October. Despite age and the challenges he has faced as his health has declined, Bowden and his wife, Anne, have returned to Douglas each year for the annual Bowden Reunion at South Georgia State College, a gathering with his former players. Bowden has never forgotten his roots in Douglas and has been a tremendous ambassador for both Douglas and South Georgia State College.


Bowden coached the then-Tigers from 1955-1958; he also served as athletic director, head basketball coach, and head baseball coach. He went 22-11 at SGC, winning three state titles and tying for a fourth. He left SGC when the school ended the football program in 1958.


From Douglas, Bowden worked his way through the head coaching ranks, eventually landing at Florida State University where he won two national championships (1993, 1999) and became one of the winningest college football coaches of all time. His 346 wins (unofficially 377) rank second to Penn State’s Joe Paterno (409) on the list of winningest Division-I head football coaches. Including FCS coaches, Bowden is #4.


A man of unwavering faith and impeccable character, Bowden and his wife, Anne, have been married for 72 years. They have six children and 21 grandchildren.

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