"Bobby has been a tough competitor. He has meant an awful lot to the universities he coached and to the game of football overall. He and his wife, Ann, have dedicated their lives with untold hours to better the teams and universities they cared so much about. They will be missed by the coaching profession and college football. Sue and I wish them well."
Joe Paterno, Penn State coach
"It was a great privilege to coach for, and be mentored by, Coach Bowden, who many would consider the greatest college coach in the history of the game. I'm thankful for my relationship with him and the lesson I learned that not only is winning games important but also keeping the game in the proper perspective. I can only imagine how many lives have been impacted by him in a positive way, including my own. Other than my father, he's been the most influential man in my life."
Mark Richt, Georgia coach and a former FSU offensive coordinator
"I just hate to see it come to an end like this, and I just hate to see how it was handled; it could have been handled a lot more professionally. The way it was handled, the morale (on the team) has to be at an all-time low. Zero. … If big-time college football has gotten to the point where it's win right now and you fire a coach like it's the NFL, then you should start paying the players."
Ron Simmons, the first blue-chip recruit Bowden signed at FSU and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame
"I was hoping the Riverboat Gambler had one more trick up his sleeve and he would announce he was coming back for another year."
Chris Weinke, star QB of the 1999 FSU national championship team and the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner
"I'm grateful that he was able to last such a long time at one school, and what he left was a great legacy behind."
Charlie Ward, 1993 Heisman Trophy winner, QB and leader of the 1993 national championship team
"It is a surprise how fast it happened. I really didn't see that coming. I still think Florida State is a good program. They're going to be up and coming, and hopefully they'll be back to the way it was in the '90s."
Christian Green, Tampa Catholic QB and an FSU prospect
"I don't know that anybody has ever done anything more for Florida State University than Bobby Bowden. He's an extraordinary man and a wonderful coach, and I love him to death. I just can't say enough about him. He's irreplaceable, he really is. Others will come after him, but no one can replace the legend that is Bobby Bowden."
Charlie Crist, Florida governor and an FSU alumnus
"I'm good friends with Coach Bowden, and I have a lot of respect for him. … At one school and that long a career in this day and age, you just won't see it. You just admire a guy that had the stamina and (did) it the right way. That's the thing you always admire about Coach Bowden. He's always done it the right way."
Urban Meyer, Florida coach
"I think it's a bit of a disgrace for the people who are making the decision that basically is forcing Bobby Bowden to retire. He doesn't obviously want to retire. I think they left him no alternative. … And I don't quite understand what they're going to try to accomplish here. Bobby Bowden, if he wanted to stay one more year, he was asking for one more year, which was the original agreement, I don't understand why the Florida State nation could not come together and all pull in the same direction."
Gary Danielson, CBS Sports analyst
"If you spend 34 years at the same place, you're doing something right."
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina coach and former Florida coach
Times staff, wires