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Bobby Bowden receives inaugural Florida Governor’s Medal of Freedom

Bowden, one of college football’s winningest coaches, coached Florida State from 1976-2009, winning 12 ACC titles and national titles in 1993 and 1999.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, presents former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden with the inaugural Governor's Medal of Freedom on Wednesday at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, presents former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden with the inaugural Governor's Medal of Freedom on Wednesday at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. [ TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT | AP ]
Published Apr. 8
Updated Apr. 8

TALLAHASSEE — Bobby Bowden, who led Florida State football to two national titles in a 34-year career with the Seminoles, received the inaugural Florida Medal of Freedom on Wednesday at a ceremony in Tallahassee hosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The state’s medal of freedom recognizes “any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to the interests and citizens of the state, its culture, or other significant public or private endeavor.”

Bowden, 91, is one of college football’s winningest coaches. He coached Florida State from 1976-2009, winning 12 ACC titles and national titles in 1993 and 1999. He has 377 career wins in all and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

“I appreciate this great honor. I will treasure this the rest of my life, which I don’t know how long it’s going to be. Once you get to 90, you don’t think about your future too much,” Bowden said after the governor and other speakers hailed him for his work not only as a coach but as a mentor to the hundreds of young men he assembled for his teams.

“I get the credit, the head coach gets the credit, but it’s the coaches who do all the coaching,” Bowden said. “I had great coaches, and I had some great players. … They get you there.

DeSantis also declared Wednesday “Bobby Bowden Day” in Florida.

Also at the ceremony were FSU president John Thrasher, former Seminoles quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, and current head coach Mike Norvell, among others.

Pointing to Norvell, Bowden said, “Coach, good to see you, baby. I like what I hear. Keep up the good work.”

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