Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden to coach 'bowl' game for US soldiers

Bobby Bowden will coach one more game, on a road trip like none he's ever experienced, and where players on both sides of the field are on the same team.

The former Florida State coach will be among a group of football greats traveling to an undisclosed American military installation in the Persian Gulf next month for a flag football game with soldiers, called the Connect to Home Bowl.

Bobby Bowden asked to go this year after following last season's inaugural event closely, and event organizers happily accepted.

"It's very exciting ... because there couldn't be a better cause," the 81-year-old Bowden told The Associated Press. "My belief in our military and our men that are over there, what they're going through, that's what means as much as anything to me."

Highlights from the game will be aired during halftime of the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.

The event is sponsored by Tostitos and the USO, and Bowden is just one of several football stars making the trip.

College Football Hall of Famer Gene Stallings will coach the other team, and former players who are taking part on the trip include Jim Kelly, Rodney Peete, LaVar Arrington, Zach Thomas, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Antonio Freeman, Ron Dayne and Jevon Kearse.

The group will travel to the selected base for a few days in December.

"You know, you kind of like to give back," Bowden said. "That's what we're doing."

Officials from Tostitos came up with the idea last year when trying to tie bowl season into some sort of tribute to soldiers. The USO benefits from getting exposure during prime time of a Bowl Championship Series game.

"For many of our troops serving overseas, watching college football is a special way to reconnect with home -from the coin toss to the marching bands to seeing the action on the field," said Justin Lambeth, Frito-Lay's vice president of marketing.

It's the second time a Bowden has been part of the event.

Terry Bowden was one of the coaches selected to go to Iraq last season, and the commitment was made before Florida State was selected to play in the Gator Bowl - his father's final game with the Seminoles.

The game in Iraq was the same day. Bobby Bowden insisted his son be in Iraq, and not change plans just to be there for his finale.

"He told me it was a great experience," Bowden said. "He wouldn't trade anything for it. The closest I have come to something like this, which really is not close, is they used to invite college coaches over to Europe, to Germany and England, to put on coaching clinics at some bases. But nothing like this."

Bowden officially left Florida State with 377 wins, a figure that takes away 12 victories the NCAA ordered vacated following an academic scandal that affected the eligibility of some players. Bowden also won 22 games at South Georgia College, a figure he counts on his own personal total.

So by his math, including the vacated wins, he won 411 games in college football.

"When I die, I'm putting on my tombstone 411," Bowden said. "They can't do a thing about it."

He might get to say he won 412 in a few weeks, even if he has to fly halfway around the world first.

"I never thought of that," Bowden said.

Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden to coach 'bowl' game for US soldiers 11/30/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No gimmes in scrappy Wiregrass Ranch's volleyball district

    Volleyball Preps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch High coach Michelle Davis is realistic about her volleyball team this season. They will scrap for every point. They will never give up. They will encourage each other no matter what.

     Wiregrass Ranch High School girls volleyball player Jaizah Anderson (2) gets ready to spike the ball during Thursday's (9/21/17) match with Zephyrhills High School in Zephyrhills, Fla.
  2. Steelers' Villanueva apologizes, says he didn't intend to stand alone during anthem (w/video)


    PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag, the symbol he wore on his military uniform during three tours in Afghanistan before beginning an unlikely journey from Army Ranger to the NFL.

    Alejandro Villanueva stands alone during the national anthem at Soldier Field in Chicago. [Associated Press]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrespectful fans


    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  4. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived


    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  5. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity


    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.