"I've always tried to serve God's purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bobby Bowden said

By Gabrielle Chung
July 22, 2021 12:44 AM
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Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden
| Credit: Doug Benc/Getty

Legendary Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal health condition, he and his family announced on Wednesday.

"I've always tried to serve God's purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bowden, 91, said in a statement to the Tallahassee Democrat. "My wife Ann and our family have been life's greatest blessing."

Though Bowden did not specify his condition, he added, "I am at peace."

During his 34-season career coaching the FSU Seminoles, Bowden earned more than 350 victories and helped the team win national championships in 1993 and 1999.

He retired from his post in 2009, becoming the second-winningest coach in the NCAA Division I history.

Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden
| Credit: Rick Dole/Getty

In a statement of his own, Florida State president John Thrasher said he is "deeply saddened" about the news of Bowden's diagnosis.

"Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class and a sense of humor," he said. "Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family."

FSU athletic director David Coburn said in a separate statement that Bowden "has meant everything to Florida State athletics and so much to college football in general."

"He has influenced so many people beyond just the players he coached, and the staff who had the privilege of working with him. He is a part of the heart and soul of FSU, but it goes beyond even that — he is a big part of the history of the game," Coburn said. "Anyone who has had the opportunity to be around Coach Bowden knows what it is like to know a person who has his priorities in the right order, who loves life and values integrity and honor."

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News of Bowden's terminal condition diagnosis comes nine months after the College Football Hall of Famer dealt with what he called a "tough" bout of COVID-19.

In October, Bowden's son Tommy revealed that his father had "just went through a battle with COVID-19 and God just wasn't ready to take me home yet to be with him," the Associated Press reported.

Following his release from the hospital, Bowden said in a statement, "Most of you know I'm 91 years old and the fight was tough but thanks to the help of Dr. Michael Forsthoefel, and the support of Ann and all my children, I beat it."