WVU Sports Hall of Fame
Bobby Bowden, who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, spent 10 seasons (four as offensive coordinator and six as head coach) at West Virginia from 1966-75.
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As head coach at West Virginia, he guided two Peach Bowl clubs in 1972 and 1975, with his 1975 team finishing No. 20 in the nation. Bowden posted a 42-26 record at WVU from 1970-75 and developed three first team All-Americans in Jim Braxton, Dale Farley and Danny Buggs, along with numerous NFL Draft selections.
Bowden was the first coach to lead WVU to multiple bowl games, and his 1972 team ranked fourth in the nation in scoring (36.5) and sixth in passing yards (227.8).
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Bowden began his head coaching football career in 1956 at South Georgia College, where he posted a 22-11 record in three seasons. He then posted a 31-6 record at Howard College (now Samford University) from 1959-62 before becoming an assistant coach at Florida State from 1963-65 and offensive coordinator at WVU from 1966-69. Bowden left WVU to become the head coach at Florida State, where he compiled a 315-98-4 record from 1976-2009, including national championships in 1993 and 1999. Bowden’s 1993 team defeated Nebraska, 18-16, in the Orange Bowl, and his 1999 team which was ranked No. 1 for the entire season, defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, 46-29, to finish 12-0. He is credited with a 377-129-4 record in 44 years as a Division I head coach.
In those 44 seasons as a Division I head coach, Bowden had 40 winning seasons (including 33 consecutive at Florida State), and 36 Division I-A winning seasons. From 1987-2000, Bowden coached Florida State to 14 straight seasons with 10 or more victories, and his team had a final ranking of fourth or better in both of the major polls.
Bowden is the only coach in NCAA Division I to lead his team to 15 consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games (1991-2005), the only Division I coach to win 11 consecutive bowl games (1985-95), the only Division I coach with 14 straight bowl trips without a loss (1982-95), the only coach in Division I to compile 14 straight 10-wins season (1987-2000), the only coach to take his team to 28 consecutive bowl games and the only coach in Division I history to compile 14 straight top-five finishes in the AP poll from 1987-2000.
During his career, he produced two Heisman Trophy winners, 24 consensus All-Americans, three Johnny United Award winnings and two winners each of the Thorpe Award, Butkus Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Vince Lombardi Award.
Bowden received the National Football Foundation’s highest award – the Gold Medal – in 2006. He was the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year in 1980, the Walter Camp Coach of the Year in 1991 and won the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award in 2011. In addition to the two national championships, Bowden led Florida State to 12 Atlantic Coast Conference titles.
In 2004, Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State was named Bobby Bowden Field. Among the awards named in honor of Bobby Bowden are the Bobby Bowden National Coach of the Year Award, presented by The Mountain Touchdown Club of Birmingham and the Bobby Bowden Athlete of the Year Award, presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Bowden, a 1953 graduate of Howard (Samford), and his wife, Ann, have six children (Terry, Tommy, Jeff, Robyn Hines, Steve and Ginger Madden) and 21 grandchildren.