Florida State University's legendary football coach Bobby Bowden, who is also known as a devout Christian, passed away at the age of 91 last Sunday.
247 Sports reported that Bowden died at 5:08 a.m. from cancer while being surrounded by his wife, Ann, and six children. Bowden, fondly called by fans as "Bobby" and by former players of FSU as "Coach Bowden," is said to leave "a rich legacy" behind.
Part of Bowden's legacy is winning a total of 389 competitions during his entire career, although the National Collegiate Athletic Association officially counts it at 375. The discrepancy is said to be due to 14 victories that were "stripped" from FSU during a cheating scandal. Nonetheless, the university acknowledges all of Bowden's winnings such that he is regarded as the second coach in the university's history with the most number of winnings.
Through Bowden, FSU won the 1993 national championships and the 1994 Orange Bowl where they defeated Tom Osborne in the competition with Nebraska. They also won the 1999 national title, which enabled the university to receive the title "No. 1 team in the AP poll." FSU also won in 2009 during the Gator Bowl held in Jacksonville where West Virginia was defeated in a 33-21 score. The 2009 game is said to be Bowden's last game prior to his retirement.
Bowden has also coached more than 150 football players who eventually became a part of the National Football League. But besides his accomplishments in the field, most notable of Bowden's legacy is his faith in God that he openly professed. An instance was in 2009 during an interview with ESPN.
"Faith is the most important thing in the world to me. It's the greatest strength I've had. It's helped me get through the hard times. You're not going to win every one of your football games. I've always said I'm not going to make football my god. A lot of coaches put so much into coaching football games that they have nothing left. I've never made football my priority. My priorities are my faith and my dependence on God," Bowden disclosed.
Evangelist Franklin Graham actually paid a tribute to Bowden in Facebook on Sunday by sharing a video on the coach who highlighted the importance of being available to God.
"Listen to Coach Bobby Bowden's powerful testimony that was filmed for an evangelistic crusade I held in Tallahassee, FL, back in 2001," Graham said.
"'God (doesn't) need your ability...But He does want my availability'," he added quoting Bowden.
The 3-minute video, which was shared 3,600 times, features Bowden's interview where he attributes the "innate success" in his life was due to his "commitment to God" and "commitment to Jesus Christ." Bowden was 23 years old -at the time when he finished college- when he realized he was saved through grace. Bowden highlighted that he worked in five schools during the 47 years of his career as a coach and he clearly saw that it was God providing for him.
He cited that the jobs he applied for, he didn't get but the jobs he worked in were "given" to him. He then cited the Bible phrase in 1 Corinthians "on the great things God can do for those who love the Lord."
"As I look back in my life, I realize it was God making it possible to put me in a position that I will be made available to God," Bowden disclosed.
"I can't claim any responsibility we've had in football. I can only thank God for working through me and making it happen," he stressed.