Posted by FlyAtTheThigh | 10/06/2009 01:08:00 PM
Members of the Board of Trustees are calling for Bobby Bowden to step down after this season. Jimbo Fisher, already on staff, has been tabbed as the "Coach of the Future". If I read correctly, Fisher is going to be in charge of personnel decisions after this year regardless as to Bowden's status.
The point of this rather abrupt blog start? Simple. Is this fair to Bobby Bowden? Is Bobby Bowden being fair to Florida State?
Bowden has 382 career wins and 20 career bowl wins - both second all time. Since joining Florida State, he has suffered only one losing season (the school was dreadful the three years before he got there, amassing a South Carolina-like three total wins). He is a legend in his field and largely considered one of the great college coaches of all time.
And yet, his job is in jeopardy. Why? Simple - a .500 ACC record over the last three years. Three appearances in mediocre bowls. Is this enough to run the man away from the University who has named the field after him?
Simply answering these questions, however, isn't the whole story. Bowden is 79 years old. Since late 2005, Bowden is 25-23 against I-A opponents, in spite of his strong recruiting classes (rated in the top 25...and quite a few in top 10...over the last 4 years on Rivals.com). What has to concern the University and its boosters is whether or not Bowden is going to be able to maintain the prestige of FSU football to a point where recruiting stays strong, or will another mediocre/bad year lead to the drying up of the recruiting pool - and several players transferring if Bowden were to retire during their stay?
It's an unanswerable question, obviously. It doesn't take a historian to remember a few years back the same sort of questions and pressures were being placed on Joe Paterno at Penn State, who has remained and has a team that was considered (foolishly) to be a BCS title contender before the year started.
Personally, I feel for the University in these situations. Bobby Bowden is an institution in Tallahassee. He's been there since the university days of most the players' parents. If he is run out of town by an angry booster or trustee and Florida State goes into the tank, the pressuring individual's name is going to be mud in Florida.
Bowden will leave on his, or God's, terms. No one is going to fire the man. The most that can be done is the trustees applying pressure on him. One wonders if it will make the coach more obstinate, more determined to prove his critics wrong (possibly at the team's expense)?
Florida State's run as being a football powerhouse appears to be over. It would make sense to use this time to transition to the "Coach In Waiting". Unfortunately for the university, the only person who can make that transition happen is the sitting coach himself.
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