I remember January of 1983, when, shortly after my alma mater, PSU, won the national championship (I was a senior and was STILL celebrating) Bear Bryant passed away.
The Bear was 69 but looked older. Apparently his body felt the same way. He got to enjoy about four weeks…maybe less…of retirement.
Tomorrow Bobby Bowden will announce his retirement at the age of 80. For years it was wondered who would retire first…Bowden or Paterno. It seemed like both would be the Amos Alonzo Staggs of today.
So Bowden is gone. He leaves 2nd on the coaching list with 388 wins (five behind JoePa). The wins at Samford are in question (but counted, to the chagrin of many a PSU fan) because at the time it was Howard College and at a different level. Some 14 wins may be lost due to a recruiting scandal. This is being appealed.
His last 10 win season was in 2003. That last meeting between him and Paterno (a 3-OT Orange Bowl) was a classic.
But 14 straight 10-win seasons. Too many “wide rights” to count.
See this Wikipedia entry for how Bowden helped and encouraged the Marshall program after the tragic plane crash. It shows a lot about the man’s heart. Heck, read the entry. He might have been the tragic head coach.
His sons distinguished themselves as college football coaches.
He will be missed.
Bryant couldn’t enjoy his retirement. Let’s hope Bowden, at 80, will have an retirement to enjoy.
Paterno turns 83 in a few weeks. He has a top-10 team right now. A 10-win team. I hope JoePa doesn’t wind up like the Bear…with no retirement to enjoy. Who knows how much longer JoePa will linger?
400 for JoePa in 2010.
Hopefully Bowden…and JoePa…will have many years of retirement to savor.