Bowdens begin camp at Troy State

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Sports Editor

Watch five minutes of the practice sessions going on this week down on the Troy State practice fields during the Bowden Academy and one word pops to mind – organization.

And why shouldn’t it be? There aren’t many summer football camps out there that offer as much in the way of experience and coaching talent. With three of the famous Bowden clan making their way to the TSU campus, the 130-plus chosen to participate are getting the best college football has to offer.

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That’s exactly what Tommy, Terry and Bobby Bowden and the rest of the coaches involved are looking for. They want to give the campers participating something they can’t get anywhere else.

"It’s the 14th year we’ve had this family camp and we’ve all had camps ourselves," former Auburn head coach Terry Bowden said. "We’re coaches, we all run football camps.

"I think this camp is very organized and unique in that if you go to any major college campus, in this state or others, the head coach will make a 10-minute appearance on one day and that’s all you’ll see of him," he continued. "Here you’ve got two, used to be three, head coaches – now I’m an analyst – coaching these young men. We have lectures with them, sleep in the dorms with them and spend time with them. It’s a unique camp for a young man to come in and instead of just getting to sign an autograph with a head coach, they get to spend three full days with a head coach from Florida State, Clemson and the former head coach at Auburn and a lot of other outstanding college coaches."

The now college football analyst said that Troy State is an ideal place to hold the camp as well. In it’s second year as the Bowden Academy site, TSU has more than served it’s purpose.

"Troy State is a great place to have summer football camps," Terry said. "One, it’s a university that opens it’s arms to summer camps and really makes us feel welcome. We’re not having to beg to come here and two, it’s a place you can bring a lot of these 16, 17 and 18-year-old boys down and focus on football. So, for various reasons this has been a great place for us to hold this camp the last two years."

The camp has players from as far away as Colorado, Texas, Virginia and Indiana, not to mention

most of the closer southeastern states. It has become a premiere camp for high school athletes, but the Bowdens don’t just do it for the money or the prestige. They like the time together and away from their perspective jobs.

We’re real selfish actually," Bowden said. "We do it because it gives us a chance to spend some time away from our job as a family.

"I also think we all enjoy getting into the minds of young people and teaching and influencing them," he added. "This gives us the ability to do that, while at the same time being buddies and cutting up as a family."