One of the Greats: COach Bobby Bowden



Recently we lost a legendary college head football coach. I never personally met Coach Bobby Bowden but I did have a chance to hear him speak at a national conference. The room was packed and everyone was eager to hear him present. If you ever listen to any of his former players, you know he was a special man and not just because he won a lot of games.

Twenty years ago Coach Gary Pinkel gave all of his staff a book as a gift, and that book was Coach Bowden’s “The Bowden Way”. At the time I received this book I was in my first few years of being a full-time strength and conditioning coach at the University of Missouri. I was looking for any/all opportunities to learn and grow. Prior to receiving this book I wasn’t a big fan of reading, but even now I can remember exactly when and where I read this book. This book would become a part of the foundation for the type of coach I wanted to be.

Prior to receiving this book I had a chance to go to the 2001 Senior Bowl in Mobile Alabama. While on the sidelines during the game I had a chance to talk to one of the Florida State players. I asked him a question about Coach Bobby Bowden. I asked him to tell me something about Coach Bowden that most people don’t know or realize. He said Coach Bowden would talk to the players about life more than football and that was the most impactful thing he experienced. At that point in time Coach Bowden was one of the most respected coaches in my eyes not just for what he was accomplishing on the field but how he positively impacted young people.

Some of the topics Coach Bowden talks about in his book are setting a personal example, living with integrity, loyalty, humility, time management, staff meetings, morale, enthusiasm, time management, relating to superiors, dealing with adversity, and many other topics. After reading this book I remember promising myself when I was in a position to be a head strength and conditioning coach I would treat my players and staff the way I thought Coach Bowden did. As I look back, I can proudly say I did my best and I did a good job. What do you want people to say about you and the impact you had on their lives?

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