Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowden Charms Crowd at Luncheon; Former FSU Coach Is Staying Busy on the Awards Circuit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowden Charms Crowd at Luncheon; Former FSU Coach Is Staying Busy on the Awards Circuit

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

A year after leading Florida State to a 33-21 win over West Virginia in the final game of his legendary coaching career, Bobby Bowden returned to be inducted into the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame on Friday.

Also inducted was Mike Tranghese, commissioner of the Big East for 20 years.

Bowden is one of the most sought-after banquet speakers now that he's retired from coaching. He quickly won over more than 1,500 in attendance at the Hyatt Hotel Ballroom.

"When I drove up today, I must have signed 200 autographs in 30 minutes," he said in his opening remarks after receiving a standing ovation. "They're out there in the car if anybody wants any of them."

Bowden spent this past fall away from the football field for the first time in nearly four decades. He called his involvement with college football this season "excellent, something I really enjoyed."

"People ask me all the time, 'How did you stand it without coaching?' " Bowden said in an interview before the luncheon. "I didn't miss it one bit. I tried to get one more year, I just wanted the one more year, but it wasn't to be. When you get to be my age, 81 now, it's not like you're trying to get back into coaching.

"For the first time in my life I've been able to watch games in person or on TV. When you're coaching, you can't watch them, you're busy with your own team. As soon as I'm done with the luncheon here today, I'm headed home in time to watch Florida State play tonight. Then I'll watch four games tomorrow."

Bowden's travel schedule has increased with the bowl games. He was the featured speaker at a banquet at the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Wednesday. He was honored in Jacksonville on Friday, will speak at a function at the Orange Bowl on Sunday and then proceed to Arizona next week, where he'll spend three days leading up to the national championship game Jan. …

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