Bohl on Bowden: ‘He was really good for football’
LARAMIE -- Craig Bohl's smile was immediate.
Wyoming's head football coach shared a quick story Wednesday about picking up then-Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden from the airport in Lincoln, Nebraska in the early 1980's.
"He was dressed in, I think, probably an Italian suit and had a satchel with him," Bohl laughed, adding that he was a graduate assistant for Tom Osborne at the time. "I went down to see where his luggage was and he had no luggage. I said, 'coach, where's your luggage?' He goes, 'I'm going to go to bed and I'll put the same clothes on tomorrow.'"
Bowden, a two-time National Champion and College Football Hall of Famer, died peacefully early Sunday morning. He was 91.
Six of Bowden's 377 career wins -- the second-most all time for any FBS coach -- came against the Huskers, including an 18-16 triumph over Nebraska to claim a national title in the 1994 Orange Bowl.
Bohl was only around for the first two meetings between these two former college football heavyweights. FSU escaped Lincoln with an 18-14 victory in 1980. Bowden told the local newspaper that win "put his team on the map."
The following fall, Nebraska repaid the favor inside Memorial Stadium, knocking off the Seminoles, 34-14.
"Our staffs, we competed against each other a great deal," Bohl said. "There was the National Championship game, and then the mutual respect and the camaraderie."
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Bohl said Bowden and Osborne shared a friendship that went well beyond the football field. In 2017, Bowden was the fourth-ever recipient of the Tom Osborne Legacy Award. That honor, according to the official website, goes to a "winner on and off the field."
When Bohl picked Bowden up at the terminal, he was in town to speak at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet. He was also involved in other church and community activities throughout his life.
Known for his southern drawl and quick smile, Bowden roamed the sidelines in Tallahassee for 34 seasons, turning a once downtrodden program into a national contender. The Seminoles were 4-29 the previous three seasons before Bowden got to town. The team went 5-6 in his first year.
They never had another losing season under his watch.
"Quite frankly, I don't know if we have those icons in college football right now," Bohl said. "I know that may sound like an old codger me saying that, but you know, he was a prince of a guy.
"He was really good for football and really good for our country."