The Bowdens – America’s

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2001

premiere football family


Sports Columnist

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This week the Bowdens have been in town for their annual football camp.

More than 300 of America’s most-talented high school quarterbacks and receivers have spent this week in Troy learning and refining their skills from the nation’s top football family.

Yes, Bobby Bowden, soon to be the winningest college football coach in the country has all his boys here with him, plus a son-in-law.

Coach Bowden, the head mentor at Florida State, his son Tommy, the head coach at Clemson, son Terry, former Auburn head Coach and now one of the top sports analyst at ABC, Jeff, the wide receiver coach at FSU; Steve, a businessman from Birmingham; and a son-in-law, Jack Hines, secondary coach at Clemson, comprise this nation’s best known and most respected football family.

Of course, "Papa" Bowden rules the roost at Florida State with the winningest record in college football for the last 15 years. He is only eight wins short of ‘Bear" Bryant’s all-time record for wins in Division I-A (323) and trails only Joe Paterno of Penn State with the most wins by an active coach.

Paterno should break Bryant’s record in his second game this season, but I think Bowden will pass him next season.

Tommy Bowden’s Clemson team is his dad’s toughest competition in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

He’s brought Clemson a long way the past two seasons and should be ready to take on the Seminoles when they get together at Clemson, South Carolina on November 3.

Terry, of course, is out of coaching right now and is enjoying his role as co-host for ABC’s Saturday College Football Show in the fall. He also teams with another popular analyst Tim Brando, on the popular sports radio show – Conference Call.

Bowden, who won 21 of his first 22 games during his first two years at Auburn, now lives in Orlando, Fla.

Jeff Bowden, now 42, is the youngest of the Bowden boys, joined his dad at Florida State eight years ago after serving as an assistant coach under Jeff Bower at Southern Mississippi. Many people think Jeff will one day be a head coach of a Division I-A program.

Steve decided to go the business route and now lives with his family in his mother and dad’s native city of Birmingham. Jack Hines grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, and played for Bobby Bowden at West Virginia. He met Bowden’s oldest daughter while they were in high school and later joined the Bowden clan. Hines coached with Terry at Samford and Auburn and then joined Tommy when he got the Clemson job.

Coach Bowden and his wife have 19 grandchildren.

I’ve had an opportunity the last three years to watch this family of coaches and I have been very impressed.

The first words I believe to describe this bunch is ‘down to earth." I’ve found them to be very nice people, very cordial and willing to cooperate in any way they can.

I’ve watched how they communicate with the young athletes and how excited they get for them when they do the right things. I’ve yet to hear a word on the practice field that could not be used in a Sunday school class. The Bowden’s are a "Class Act." They carry themselves in a very positive manner and at the same time give no indication that they are marching to a different fiddle than the rest of us.

I see humility, I see a definite love for teaching the game of football to young athletes, and I see good, wholesome people that were raised in a Christian home.

Yes, the Bowdens are special people, but they are just like you and me.

Let’s hope they continue to bring their football camp to Troy. They seem to like it here from the compliments I’ve heard them give Troy State and its facilities.

The Bowdens bring great prestige and national exposure to our city.

Mike Amos is a sports columnist for The Messenger.