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Bobby Bowden diagnosed with terminal medical condition, says he is ‘at peace’

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Bowden to speak at Spring Valley Baptist (copy)

Bobby Bowden speaks in 2010. Bowden, a Birmingham native and long time Florida State football coach, has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, his family announced on Wednesday.

Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, his family announced on Wednesday.

The 91-year-old Bowden, Florida State’s football coach from 1976-2009, released a short statement to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bowden said. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”

The exact nature of Bowden’s medical condition was not disclosed. He was diagnosed with what he called a “tough bout” of COVID-19 after a hospital stay last year, and has been treated for cancer on at least three occasions — once for prostate cancer, twice for skin cancer — over the years.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Wednesday that Bowden is “under supervised care and is resting comfortably” at his Tallahassee-area home. “I feel fine but I can’t do much,” Bowden told the paper on July 5.

Bowden grew up in Birmingham, and played football at Howard College (now Samford University), graduating in 1953. After a stint as head coach at his alma mater and several stops as an assistant, he coached at West Virginia from 1970-75 before taking over a moribund Florida State program in 1976.

Bowden won 316 games and two national championships in 34 seasons with the Seminoles, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He ranks second all-time among FBS coaches in victories with 377, behind only Joe Paterno’s 409.

Three of Bowden’s sons followed him into coaching. Terry has coached at Samford, Auburn, Akron and North Alabama and is now at Louisiana-Monroe.

Tommy was head coach at Tulane and Clemson (and was an assistant at Alabama and Auburn), while Jeff was an assistant coach for many years with his father at Florida State. Bobby Bowden has been married to his wife, Ann — also a Birmingham native — for 72 years.