Bobby Bowden to Receive 2011 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award
Former Florida State University head coach Bobby Bowden has been named the 2011 recipient of the AFCA’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.
The award, which honors those “whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football,” will be presented to Bowden at the AFCA Awards Luncheon on January 11 during the 2011 AFCA Convention in Dallas, Texas.
“I’m excited about it,” Bowden said. “I’ve been to the American Football Coaches Association’s conventions through the years and I’ve been proud of the men who have won this award. I never thought that I’d win this award, let alone be considered. When I got word from Grant Teaff that I’d been selected, I was thrilled.”
When Bowden retired as head coach at Florida State in 2009, his overall record stood at 377-129-4 in 44 years as a head coach, including 34 as the head coach of the Seminoles. His 377 wins rank him second only to Joe Paterno in number of victories by an FBS coach. Bowden is fourth on the all-time coaching victories list behind John Gagliardi of St. John’s (Minn.), Eddie Robinson and Paterno. He is the third head coach ever to coach more than 500 games, and he is the sixth head coach to coach 400 games or more at one school.
Bowden began his coaching career at Howard College (now Samford) in 1954 as assistant football coach and head track coach. He left his alma mater after two years to be the head football coach and athletics director at South Georgia Junior College in 1956. He returned to Samford as head coach in 1959, posting an overall record of 31-6 in his four seasons. Bowden then joined the staff at Florida State from 1963-65 before moving on to West Virginia University as offensive coordinator from 1966-69. In 1970, he took over as head coach at West Virginia, earning a 42-26 overall record from 1970-75.
Bowden took the reins at Florida State in 1976. The Seminoles had won only four games over the previous three seasons. Four seasons after Bowden first walked on the Florida State campus, he had taken the Seminoles to within one game of a national championship, posting an 11-1 record in 1979.
From 1987 to 2000, Bowden coached Florida State to 14 straight seasons with 10 or more victories, and his teams had a final ranking of fifth or higher in the Coaches’ Poll those same 14 years. He is, by far, the winningest coach ever at Florida State as his win total (304) is greater than the previous seven Seminole head coaches combined.
During Bowden’s tenure, Florida State won two national championships (1993, 1999), 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and played in 33 bowl games. His teams set NCAA records with 11 consecutive bowl victories (1985-95) and 14 straight bowl trips without a loss (1982-95). During the 1999 national championship season, which was Bowden’s only undefeated team, the
Seminoles became the first team to go wire-to-wire as the Associated Press’ No. 1.
Bowden ranks second all-time in bowl victories (21) and bowl appearances (33). He is the only coach to ever lead his team to 15 consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games (1991-2005), and his Seminoles are tied for the most appearances in BCS bowl games with six.
Under Bowden’s guidance, FSU produced two Heisman Trophy winners (Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke), 26 consensus All-Americans, three Johnny Unitas Award winners, two Thorpe Award winners, two Butkus Award winners, two Davey O’Brien award winners, two Lou Groza Award winners and two Lombardi Award winners.
So overwhelming has Bowden’s influence been on college football and, in particular, at Florida State, that the field at Doak Campbell Stadium was named after him in 2004 and a national award given by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes now bears his name.
Bowden’s list of coaching accomplishments is remarkable and is headlined by his induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. That same year, Bowden also received the National Football Foundation’s Gold Medal, which is the organization’s highest award. He is a four-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year (1977, 1979, 1987, 1996), two-time Southern Independent Coach of the Year (1977, 1979), ABC-Chevrolet National Coach of the Year (1979), two-time ACC Coach of the Year (1993, 1997) and two-time Home Depot Coach of the Year (1996, 1999). Bowden was awarded the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 1980, and the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award in 1991, and has been inducted into both the Florida and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.