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Keynote Speaker Bobby Bowden
Bobby Bowden
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Bobby Bowden

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Summary of Bobby Bowden

Bobby Bowden is known as much for his affable charm as he is for his championship teams and is an icon of college football. Having coached young men in seven decades, he is the second-winningest coach in major college football history. Bowden guided Florida State University to more than three hundred victories, two national championships, twelve Atlantic Coast Conference titles, finishing in the top five in the country in fourteen straight seasons, and he also led the Seminoles to Bowl Games in twenty-eight consecutive seasons during his thirty-four-year tenure. The patriarch of college football’s most famous coaching family, Bowden remains heavily involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, annually awarding The National Bobby Bowden Award to a student-athlete for achievement on and off the field, including his conduct as a role model in the community. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006, one of only two coaches who have ever been inducted while still coaching. His memoir, “Called to Coach” was published by Simon & Schuster in August of 2010.

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Bobby Bowden is a retired college football coach who lead the Florida State Seminoles football team from the 1976 to 2009 seasons. He is an inductee of the College Football Hall of Fame. He also received a double honor with the organization's very highest distinction when he joined the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhour, John F. Kenned,y and H. Norman Schwarzkopf as Gold Medal Recipients.

Bowden became the all-time winningest coach in 2003 and Bowden finished his career second in all-time wins by a Division I-FBS coach with 377 wins. He is the only coach to lead his team to 14 straight seasons that ended with a ranking among the Associated Press top five. Bowden has coached two national championship teams, including the 1999 squad that was the first ever to go through a season from start to finish as the AP No. 1. Bowden has had such a significant influence on college football and, in particular, at Florida State, that the field at Doak Campbell Stadium was named after him in 2004 and a national award given by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes also bears his name.

Bowden's skill and creativity were honed on the coaching staffs at South Georgia College, FSU, and West Virginia. But his combination of leadership, vision, talent and magnetic personality over his 30 years at Florida State, raising the program from perhaps its lowest point to the national powerhouse it is today. Bobby Bowden is the only coach in NCAA history to win 11 consecutive bowl games (1985-95) and the only coach ever with 14 consecutive bowl appearances (1982-95) without a loss (FSU tied Georgia 17-17 in the 1984 Citrus Bowl).

Part of the reason for Bowden's success in his long run at FSU is that the elements of the job that seem to turn into chores over the years for most coaches—recruiting, speaking engagements, public functions, and press responsibilities—come easily to him.

In the fickle world of "big-time" college sports some forget what it is all about. Sure, Bobby Bowden is proud of his two national championships, his place among the all-time greats, and an incredibly successful football program. But he has always pointed to the fact that there are more important things in life. He makes time for charity and to give to his church. He has never passed an admiring child without a wink and a smile. He greets total strangers. He listens and he cares.

Friendly and outgoing, Bowden is a deeply religious man who believes strongly in the strength of the family. He loves people. His personality and charm are bigger than life and he has become somewhat of a folk hero. An engaging speaker, Bobby Bowden is sought-after to teach and inspire audiences everywhere.

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