Bobby Bowden is the winnigest FBS coach in the history of the game with 377 victories. He understands what it takes to run a program and win championships.
Bowden is slated to make his first return to Tallahassee since retiring in 2010 on Saturday when the Seminoles host NC State. With that in mind, Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel asked him why he did not return earlier to see how his successor, Jimbo Fisher, is doing.
Q: You reiterated many times that you didn’t want to stay at FSU after you left. Why?
A: “I just know how it is, when you follow a coach that’s been there as long as I have, 34 years, that means everybody from four years old or younger, that’s all they’ve known, is Bobby Bowden. I didn’t want that hovering over the next coach’s head. If you wonder where I got it, I followed a very successful coach [Jim Carlen] when I took over at West Virginia. …Every time you lose or something, people will say ‘why don’t you do it the way he did it, or do this like he did it.’ That’s all you hear. I said when I leave, I’m going to try to get out of town so the next guy doesn’t have to put up with all that.”
After that, Bowden makes one thing abundantly clear: Like himself, he believes Fisher understands what it takes to win.
Q: You still follow FSU’s progress. It seems like Jimbo Fisher has done a real nice job, do you agree?
A: “He’s done better than a nice job. He’s gotten them back on top where we were years ago. It doesn’t surprise me. A lot of people think there’s animosity between me and him, but you’ve got to realize, I hired him. I hired him because I knew he was going to be a successful coach.”
Q: Does this current FSU team remind you of any of your championship teams?
A: “They resemble wholeheartedly what we are able to do back in the 90s. Now doing it year, after year, after year is what’s hard. [Nick] Saban is doing it now. [Fisher] might do it. And the reason he might do it is because he’s an excellent recruiter. He keeps bringing in great football players, I think that’s one of his strengths.”