That issue, published during his 20-game winning streak at Auburn from 1993-94, lists Bowden at No. 33 among the 50 most important people in sports.
He keeps it as a reminder of life's twists and turns.
"The point is, you're never quite as good as you think," he said. "Things are never as good and never as bad."
Things are good for the 53-year-old Bowden. The first-year North Alabama coach stands five days from his first game as a coach since his Auburn team lost 24-3 at Florida on Oct. 17, 1998.
Bowden took over a Division II power and drew a slew of Division I transfers to restock the Lions' offense, which lost 10 of 11 starters.
The one-time wunderkind has pieces and — after 10 years of picking up the pieces as a media figure — can once again call plays and watch the pieces move.
He's also back in the family business, a son once again rising as the sun sets on his legendary father, Bobby Bowden, at Florida State.
Terry Bowden says he likes to think of what can be.
"I'm 10 years younger than my dad was when he won his first national championship," he said.
He's almost 11 years beyond his ugly separation from Auburn, a trauma that left doubts on whether he'd get the chance to coach again.
Bowden resigned after a 1-5 start to the 1998 season. He said he was told — by powerful trustee Bobby Lowder — that he'd be fired at season's end. This less than a year after Bowden came within two points of an SEC title.
Bowden's bitter end at Auburn stood in contrast to his glorious start in 1993, when he led a sanction-racked team to an 11-0 finish. The Tigers didn't lose until 10 games into his second season.
The 20-game winning streak marked the highest point for a then-rising star, who had become a head coach at 26. He became a major-college head coach at 36.
He continued to have winning seasons at Auburn through 1997. His next-to-last Auburn team went 10-3 and won the SEC West Division.
The bottom dropped out in 1998. Playmakers such as quarterback Dameyune Craig were gone, and an offseason drug arrest claimed talented receiver Robert Baker.
Injuries also depleted an already-thin roster. The Tigers went through six centers in the first half of the season.
Rumors began to swirl in the week following the loss at Florida. The manic back-and-forth between Bowden and his bosses ended when he resigned a day before the Tigers were to play Louisiana Tech at home.
This all happened when Bowden's dad was at the height of his power at FSU. Brother Tommy Bowden was midway through an 11-0 run in his second year at Tulane.
Terry Bowden was crushed.
"The soul-crushing event was going from one play away from winning the SEC championship to not having a job 10 months later," he said.
Safe in the booth
Bowden spent the next five years replaying scenarios, trying to grasp how things crashed so quickly. He decided he was done with coaching, choosing the comfort of the press box.
He worked as a radio talk show host, ABC studio analyst, broadcaster for Westwood One and columnist for Yahoo! Sports. He also built a well-paying career as a motivational speaker.
That all worked, until he turned 50 and looked in a mirror. Lines on his face began looking like lines on a football field.
"When I turned 50, I got that feeling that life is moving on, I'm mortal, and is this what I want to do the rest of my life?" he said. "… 'I'm making a very good living, but I'm not really happy.'"
Bowden's shift in thinking became public after the 2007 regular season, when he interviewed for the West Virginia job. His alma mater ultimately promoted interim coach Bill Stewart after the Mountaineers throttled Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Looking to go small
The West Virginia disappointment forced Bowden to retool his thinking. Major programs weren't likely to hire him after a long absence from coaching, so he aimed for smaller colleges.
His break came in Florence, where he broadcast last season's Division II national title game. Then-North Alabama coach Mark Hudspeth resigned during the game to take a job on Mississippi State's staff.
UNA athletics director Mark Linder brought the news to sports information director Jeff Hodges in the press box, and Hodges mentioned that Terry Bowden was in the broadcast booth.
Linder knocked on the door and handed Bowden a business card with a message on the back. Bowden replied during a commercial break with a message on his own business card.
So began a feeling-out process. On the surface, it seemed to be a win for North Alabama to hire a Bear Bryant Award winner.
Then again, was the fire still there? Why did Bowden want to coach after so long out of it?
Steve Pierce, president pro tem of UNA's board of trustees, said he wanted to meet Bowden before the hire was made.
"He said, 'I just had to look you in the eye and see if you looked like you were really interested,'" Bowden said. "I said, 'You know, I wanted to look you in the eye, too. I want to see what my trustees are like.'
"So we both looked, and nobody blinked. I think they saw that I'm very excited."
All fired up
The months since have seen Bowden build his team. He welcomed several Division I and junior college transfers, including seven from Florida State.
Meanwhile, mainstays are adjusting to new faces and new paces. Oxford High School product Charles McClain, a junior wide receiver, cites more attention to details from his new coach, right down to flexibility drills.
"I've never seen a coach take stretching so seriously and make it so hard," he said.
Bowden inherited most of Hudspeth's staff, but Jeff Bowden volunteers as assistant coach and wide receivers coach. State nepotism laws prevented Terry Bowden from paying his brother, who lives on a five-year buyout from Florida State.
As is the case with his brother, Jeff Bowden is resurrecting his career. The former FSU offensive coordinator was fired after the 2006 season.
While two seasons away from coaching recharged Jeff Bowden, it's nothing compared to the decade Terry missed. As the story goes, Terry Bowden let loose when his all-conference kicker missed an extra point in the first drill of fall practice.
"You see a lot of energy," Jeff Bowden said. "You see a lot of stored-up, pent-up energy coming out of him in practice. It's different."
Terry Bowden said his time at Division III Salem College and I-AA Samford did the most to prepare him for his Division II gig. He and his staff must delve deeply into matters such as fundraising and equipment.
Maybe it's them
As for his Auburn experience, he said his perspective has evolved. He seems to draw validation from former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's resignation after last season.
Tuberville won 85 games in 10 years at Auburn. He led the Tigers to a 13-0 season and No. 2 national finish in 2004.
As Terry Bowden did, Tuberville won a Bear Bryant Award.
As Terry Bowden did, Tuberville resigned after a losing season that followed several winning seasons.
As with Terry Bowden, rumors swirled about circumstances surrounding Tuberville's departure from Auburn. Many questioned whether each coach was forced to resign and whether trustees meddled.
"Sometimes you realize that you're not in control of everything, and it's not your fault," Terry Bowden said. "It's just part of it.
"… In retrospect, maybe we can all look at the situation at Auburn and say, 'You know what? I don't think there was anything Terry Bowden or Tommy Tuberville could have done. That's just the way things occur at Auburn right now. That's how volatile that head coaching position is under the circumstances with things that are going on there.'"
Joe Medley is The Star's sports columnist. He can be reached at 235-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.