Cherished Friend and Partner of FCA Passes Away at Age 91
August 10, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) is mourning the passing but celebrating the life and legacy of longtime friend Coach Bobby Bowden, who went to be with the Lord on August 8, 2021.
“It’s huge, huge gain for heaven and huge, huge loss for the coaching community and for our ministry,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “He is one of the few coaches that really set FCA apart and helped our ministry to become what it is today through his value of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.”
After reading comments about Coach Bowden from his former players, Williamson noted that Bowden became a father-figure for many young men throughout his illustrious coaching career.
“FCA continues to pray for Bobby’s family and friends during this time of loss, but we are so grateful for the time spent with this legendary leader,” said Williamson. “We have no doubt that Jesus opened His arms and said, ‘Welcome home, my good and faithful servant.’”
After contracting rheumatic fever at age thirteen, Bowden’s dreams of playing football seemed far-reaching. However, he overcame these obstacles and pursued his passion, becoming a standout quarterback at Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, then taking his talents to the University of Alabama and Howard College (now Samford University).
Bowden’s career in college football didn’t stop there. Bowden went on to be one of the greatest coaches in college football history, coaching at West Virginia and South Georgia State, among others, before accepting the head coach position at Florida State in 1976 where he remained until his retirement in 2009. Other than his first year coaching, he never experienced a losing season in Tallahassee. Under Bowden’s exemplary leadership, Florida State won two national championships (1993 and 1999) and 12 Atlantic Coast Conference titles. He finished his 44-year career with 357 victories and was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Even more important to Bowden, however, was his faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout his career, he consistently lived out the Gospel message to everyone he met, from holding Bible studies for his coaching staff to encouraging players to join church activities and community outreach. Bowden was a renowned FCA advocate and spoke frequently at national FCA events. He and his wife, Ann, even led an FCA-sponsored trip to the Holy Land in 1997. As a result of his dedication to the organization, FCA instituted the FCA Bobby Bowden Athlete of the Year Award in 2004.
Commented Williamson, “I hope a lot of coaches will take care to note, not the number of games he won, but the comments of the men whose lives are different today because of him. Coach Bowden was truly a 3D Coach before the concept of 3D Coaching.”
Williamson continued, “The loss of Bobby Bowden is especially heartbreaking to those who knew him best, but his legacy will live on, both in football history as well as here at FCA.”
A public funeral service will be held for Bowden on Saturday, August 14th, on Florida State’s campus. Public viewings will take place at FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium on Friday and on the campus of Samford University, his alma mater, on Sunday, August 15th. He is survived by his wife, Ann, and their six children.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.