TAMPA — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is routinely asked at this time of the year about his eventual retirement. He had nothing new to say about it Friday except that it's near.
"It's getting close. It's getting close," he said as the Florida Sports Writers Association College Football Media Days wrapped up.
For the first time in his FSU career, which began in 1976, Bowden, 78, is working under a one-year contract that he has the option to renew for another year at season's end.
Also, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has been anointed as his heir; if Fisher is not offered the job by Jan. 10, 2011, he receives $2.5-million.
Bowden, as usual, insists he's not interested in retiring and has some goals left to reach.
"I'd like to win a national championship again. I'd like to win so many games before I leave," he said, perhaps a coy reference to one more than Penn State's Joe Paterno, 81, to retain the all-time lead in Division I-A history. "That may or may not happen. All I know is as of right now, I'm not interested in retiring. But I do know my days are numbered. There ain't a one of you that can guess what those (number of) days are."
Bowden also said that when he does get out of the game, he would prefer to get out of Tallahassee.
"I don't want to sit around there and have me (being asked to) second-guess that poor coach or people comparing me with him or anything like that," he said. "I've always said, when I retire, I'll leave town. That's what I want to do."
So look for the Bowdens to be in Panama City or Destin, or back in Birmingham, Ala.
Succession plan popular: Bowden is a fan of the succession plan brokered by his president, T.K. Wetherell, and said it may be "unique" now but not for long.
"You're going to see more of it," he said. "I can tell by the response we've gotten from other schools."
He said four or five other schools have called FSU officials to ask about it. Hmm. Might Penn State be one? Bowden's not saying.
"I'm inclined to, but I won't," he said, laughing.
'NOLES-BULLS? Chances are Bowden won't be coaching at Florida State if it ever happens, but he said that the struggling economy could lead to FSU playing more nonconference games closer to home and USF could be a possibility.
"I think eventually that could happen," Bowden said. "Yes, (gas prices) could change that. Whether it will, I don't know, but it could, sure could. ... You usually try to find somebody that you've got a chance to win (against), instead of getting your nose bloodied."
FSU is the lone state program that hasn't scheduled USF. The Bulls have Miami lined up for home-and-home series through 2013 and Florida hosting them in 2010 and 2015.
Local connection: Edward Waters coach Kevin Clark said that quarterback Kamau Leitner, a senior from Jefferson High, is the NAIA team's "bread and butter" and the key to its success. "He has great leadership ability, great poise on the field," Clark said. "His weakness is he needs to be a lot stronger. He's not a weight-room kid. But this year we've got him in the weight room."