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)

Gator Bowl: Florida State Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden tries to ignore the finality

Bobby Bowden, the Grand Marshal of the Gator Bowl Parade, made his first booster stop as Seminoles coach in Jacksonville.

Associated Press

Bobby Bowden, the Grand Marshal of the Gator Bowl Parade, made his first booster stop as Seminoles coach in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE — Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said the reality that today's Gator Bowl will be his final game has sunk in, not that he has paid any attention to it.

"The way I feel, it's another ball game and, then of course, when the game is over it'll be my last one. It's not a big deal to me," he said Thursday.

Really?

Well, after Wednesday morning's final practice, his last one, he and his players shared a poignant moment. They huddled at midfield as usual, but this time the players put a hand on Bowden, and team chaplain Clint Purvis led them in a prayer.

"Is it emotional for me? It's gratifying and I thank them for doing that and it's meaningful to me," said Bowden, who later served as grand marshal of the Gator Bowl parade and tooled around town in a red Corvette convertible. "The thing I'll miss the most is the guys. The thing I'll miss the most, no doubt, is the boys. And not just the ones who are here. I'll miss the (Chris) Weinkes. I'll miss the (Charlie) Wards. I'll miss the Ron Simmons. I'm sure I'll run into them somewhere, but it's the people you've been with that you miss. That's part of life. Gee whiz, there's more to life to me than football, folks."

FSU is expecting more than 300 former Seminoles to be at the game, lining up as Bowden and his players walk into the stadium. (Bowden, in vintage form, quipped he hopes there's some folks waiting for them on the walk; "You ever try to slap a hand and there ain't one there.")

"I think I'm truly blessed," senior LB Dekoda Watson said. "Yes, it's going to be very emotional out there. I know once we hit the field there's going to be a lot of people out there supporting Bobby Bowden, whether it's West Virginia or Florida State (fans). It's going to be a very special moment, and it's going to be emotional for all of us."

Coming full circle: Bowden said he couldn't be happier about being in the Gator Bowl, saying his Seminoles (6-6) were "very fortunate" to receive the invitation and it "seems like it was meant to be."

After he took the Florida State job in January 1976, the first stop on his inaugural spring tour of booster clubs was Jacksonville.

"That's kind of where we started," he said. "It's also where it's going to end."

Where's the love? Although the Mountaineers understand the attention the Seminoles and Bowden have received the last few weeks, senior LB Reed Williams said they feel somewhat slighted.

"It's weird," he said. "We continue to win football games, but we still don't get the respect we deserve."

The final word: "If I could have won some more ball games, I'd have signed another five-year contract with the way I feel. I feel good, you know it? But I didn't win enough daggum games to deserve it." — Bowden

. today

Gator Bowl

Florida State vs. West Virginia, 1 p.m.; Municipal Stadium, Jacksonville

TV/radio: Ch. 10; 1040-AM

Line: West Virginia by 21/2

Gator Bowl: Florida State Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden tries to ignore the finality 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 8:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  3. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.
  5. Bucs' O.J. Howard ends big day with BP, first pitch for Rays

    Blogs

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard is known for his athleticism at 6-foot-6, 251-pounds. As an outfielder, he took his Autuaga Academy High School baseball team to the state tournament in Alabama as a junior.

    On Monday, after a little instruction from Steven Souza, Jr., the left-handed hitting Howard started making …