Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bobby Bowden isn't celebrating passing Penn State's Joe Paterno for wins record

On Monday, former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden became the winningest coach in Division I-A history. He couldn't have been sadder.

One of the penalties the NCAA levied against Penn State was forcing the school to vacate all its wins from 1998, when coach Joe Paterno and other top university officials became aware of an accusation that assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had showered with a young boy, through 2011.

Penn State lost 112 wins, one of which came after Paterno was fired. Paterno was docked 111 wins, from 409 to 298. Bowden, with 377 victories, is now No. 1. Late Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson has the overall Division I record of 408.

"There's no rejoicing in the Bowden household," said Bowden, who retired in 2009. "The most important matter is the young men who suffered. I won't be able to enjoy it under the circumstances.

"The fact I knew Joe personally, I'm probably like a lot of the kids who played for him. I hate it for Joe and his family, but the worst part is what happened to those kids and what Jerry Sandusky did."

Bowden's total once stood at 389 but was reduced by a dozen as the result of an academic scandal at FSU in 2006-07 which was self-reported by the university.

Bowden's successor at FSU, Jimbo Fisher, said Monday that he believes his former mentor won't revel in his new status.

"He won't take any glory in doing that," Fisher said. "He still has thoughts and prayers with the victims of the situation at Penn State."

The sanctions also included $60 million in fines, a four-year bowl ban and a loss of scholarships.

"The penalties are bad, but what happened was bad," Bowden said after finishing an 18-hole round of golf at the Golf Club of Quincy, about 30 miles northwest of Tallahassee. "There's not enough money to make up for what happened."

Former FSU fullback William Floyd, who won a national championship ring blocking for Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward in 1993 then a Super Bowl ring the next season with the 49ers, said Bowden deserves to be at the top of the list.

"I was elated, happy for him," the St. Petersburg native said. "Things work out. I think that's what happened" Monday.

Former UCF coach Gene McDowell, who played for the Seminoles in the early 1960s, said he was happy for Bowden if saddened by the circumstances.

"I'm happy for him and Florida State, as well," said McDowell, who spent a few years as an assistant under Bowden. "Nobody ever likes to see good people get in trouble. It's too easy for good people to get in trouble."

Bowden, meanwhile, had his thoughts on Penn State and the Paterno family. "It's something they'll be glad to get over with up there," he said.

He also said he and his wife, Ann, would likely reach out to Paterno's widow, Sue. "I just don't know when would be the proper time," Bowden said.

Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said he was pleased his father's legacy would now include the record for wins but echoed the notion that no celebrations were in order.

"His record speaks for itself, and it's my father so you'd like to be happy for him," Tommy Bowden said. "But under the circumstances, it pales in comparison to how significant those problems are and the lives that have been affected."

Meanwhile, Penn State officials, who put a gag order on players, were engaged in damage control. Even before the news hit, one recruit had decommitted.

"I think it's going to be a great case study in perseverance," former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.

The players on Penn State's roster can transfer immediately. The door to leave the program will remain clear throughout their careers. By 2014, the Nittany Lions will have 65 scholarship compared to the normal 85.

Coach Bill O'Brien's initial public response was to show resolve.

"I knew when I accepted the position that there would be tough times ahead," the first-time head coach said in a statement. "But I am committed for the long term to Penn State and our student athletes."

Bobby on top

Joe Paterno's loss of 111 wins creates a new leaderboard.

most Division I-A wins

Coach Yrs Wins

1. Bobby Bowden 44 377

2. Bear Bryant 38 323

3. Pop Warner 44 319

4. Amos Stagg 57 314

5. Joe Paterno 46 298

Bobby Bowden isn't celebrating passing Penn State's Joe Paterno for wins record 07/23/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 9:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs roundtable: Time for another kicking panic?

    Bucs

    Five days after the beleaguered Roberto Aguayo got cut after missing a PAT and a field goal, new Bucs kicker Nick Folk had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal.

  2. The Bloomingdale's that a Ruth baseball built

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — A treasure, possibly worth half a million dollars, could lie behind a granite slab at the base of the Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan in New York City, just a few feet from a window displaying designer handbags: a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

    According to reports from 1930, this cornerstone of Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City could have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and other items entombed with instructions not to open for 200 years. The Ruth ball, if there and in good condition, could be worth a record $500,000. [ New York Times]
  3. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.