Bobby Bowden, the longtime Florida State football coach, has died. He was 91. In July, Bowden disclosed that he had a terminal medical condition. His son, Terry, later revealed that it was pancreatic cancer. Growing Bolder visited with Bobby at his home in Tallahassee this summer, taping what we believe to be his final interview. He left us with a powerful reminder on how he lived his life and how we recommends that we live ours..
Bowden was not only the second-winningest coach in NCAA history, he is also one of the most respected. His demeanor, his philosophy of life and his personality helped him stand out both on the field and in his field. He considered himself not just a football coach, but a life coach as well, helping his players become successful adults.
Just weeks before his diagnosis Bowden sat down with Growing Bolder at his home in Tallahassee to reflect on his accomplishments and his life. As devastated as we were this week to learn of his diagnosis, we were also encouraged by what he told us in our interview. He was upbeat, reflective and interested in sharing some of the lessons he’s learned.
He told us how much he appreciates the many letters he receives from former players who thank him, not for what happened on the field, but for what they’ve accomplished in life.
“I get letters from boys I coached 50 years ago,” he says. “They don’t even mention football, it’s more like, ‘Dear Coach, just want to tell you hello and that one of my kids is going to come to Florida State.’ And you know? That makes me feel so dadgum good.”
He also shared his advice for a fulfilling life. “Live one day at a time” he says. “Live today the best you can. Quit thinking about 10 years down the road what you’re going to do, how are you going to make a living, what kind of health are you going to have. Live today like it’s your last day on earth, you know? And then good things will happen. That’s what happened to me.”
Growing Bolder is grateful for Bowden’s time and his willingness to open up and share with us his playbook for life. Watch for more excerpts from our interview on growingbolder.com.