Good Friday morning.
Pardon us as we push the pandemic and politics to the side and begin today’s Sunburn by saying one final goodbye to a kind and decent man.
It’s time for family, friends, and legions of Florida State University football fans and beyond to begin their final goodbyes to legendary Coach Bobby Bowden.
Bowden died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at age 91. Tributes from around the entire sports world immediately poured out online and in print, testimony to the impact Bowden had.
Longtime rival Steve Spurrier of the University of Florida hailed him as “one of the all-time greatest coaches in the history of college football.”
“We had some good battles during my 12 years at Florida,” Spurrier tweeted. “He won most of them, and we won a few.”
On Friday, Bowden will lie in the state Capitol’s rotunda in Tallahassee from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. At 2 p.m., he then will lie in the Moore Athletic Center at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee for a public viewing until 7 p.m.
On Saturday, his public funeral will be held at Florida State’s Tucker Civic Center, beginning at 11 a.m. The service will be livestreamed on Seminoles.com.
Lastly, he will make a final trip to Samford University in Birmingham on Sunday, lying in state at his alma mater. A private burial will follow in Trussville, Alabama.
FSU football was in a sorry state when Bowden took over in 1976. That quickly changed, though. His teams won two national and won or shared nine consecutive conference titles.
“‘He encouraged people to be their best’” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Mickey Andrews, Florida State’s acclaimed defensive coordinator from 1984-2009, saw Bowden develop a successful system that maximized the potential of players and coaches. “He was the most caring person — I guess you would call it passionate,” Andrews said. “It’s amazing how he treated people. That was him.” Bowden’s impact continues to be felt. Former Leon High and FSU receiver Kurt Unglaub said Bowden “was the best in getting the best out of your talent, and he knew it started with a positive mindset. Unglaub experienced that lesson firsthand. Unglaub dropped a second-quarter touchdown pass in the Seminoles’ 10-9 defeat against rival Miami in 1980. At Monday’s practice two days later, Unglaub said Bowden’s speech to players turned disappointment into desire.
—”Bobby Bowden’s legacy not about wins but how much he and everyone around him enjoyed the ride” via David Jones of Penn Live
“‘He looked so relaxed.’ Remembering FSU legendary coach Bowden’s love of the Bible” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Bowden never wavered in his faith. He often said it intertwined his coaching career and personal life. Bowden also made sure his players and assistants were aware of the gospel during his 34 seasons at FSU. Mark Richt — FSU’s former assistant coach and Georgia and Miami head coach — credits Bowden for saving him spiritually. Former FSU and NFL player Nick (Gerald) Nichols also credits Bowden for strengthening his faith. “Coach made the time for me,” said Nichols, who played seven seasons in the NFL and added that his “greatest honor” was presenting a birthday cake to Bowden during a past FSU function in Sarasota. “He’s so ready for heaven.”
“From Deion Sanders to Charlie Ward, FSU legend backed two-sport athletes” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — Sammie Smith’s goal was to play two sports — football and track — at Florida State. He didn’t have to convince Bowden, who played football, baseball and ran track in college. “It was certainly an added enticement that you could do both, and you had a coach and a school that supported you doing that,” said Smith, who signed with the Seminoles out of Apopka High in 1985. Bowden recruited and signed high-profile two-sport stars who also excelled in multiple sports at FSU. Not surprisingly, Sanders is considered FSU’s most versatile athlete. He went on to be the first professional to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series. Ward, of course, was a quarterback-point guard star for the Seminoles.
“‘He’s a Tallahassee legend’: Current FAMU Rattlers from the Big Bend reflect on the legacy of Bowden” via Rory Sharrock of the Tallahassee Democrat — Bowden’s impact on the game spans multiple state, racial and cultural lines. Of course, his biggest influences are with those connected to the schools he coached. His admiration in this city goes beyond the sideline at Doak Campbell Stadium. Bowden had strong ties to Florida A&M. This included relationships with Rattler head coaches and fellow College Football Hall of Famers Jake Gaither and Billy Joe. There’s also a link with FAMU’s present-day coaches and players. He recruited head coach Willie Simmons in the late 1990s when he was a quarterback at Shanks High School in Quincy. Simmons eventually went to Clemson and played under Tommy Bowden. This fall, FAMU will honor fallen heroes Ken Riley and Fred Humphries. The program may also do a tribute for Bowden.
“Bowden will be missed but never forgotten” via Larry Guest for the Tallahassee Democrat — I was deeply dismayed by the news of your latest and darkest diagnosis. But I was lifted by your Christian reaction to the prognosis. But not surprised. For over the several decades of our interaction, I learned conclusively that you are a true Christian who inspired so many others to embrace a strong faith in God. People often asked, during my career as a sports journalist, what teams I rooted for. My response was always that I didn’t really root for teams, per se, but rather for the coaches of the highest integrity — coaches I richly respected and enjoyed our interaction.
“Bowden had hilarious response to recent request from Dabo Swinney” via Sydney Hunte of Saturday Down South — Clemson coach Swinney was briefly coached by Bowden’s son, Tommy, at Alabama. Swinney later coached under Tommy Bowden at Clemson, first as wide receivers coach and then associate head coach before taking over as head coach of the Tigers in October 2008 following the younger Bowden’s resignation. Swinney recounted a time he visited with the ailing Bobby Bowden not long ago when he jokingly asked for a little divine intervention should the team need field goal help down the road. “Boy, you don’t want my help. I had a tendency to be wide,” Swinney recounted Bowden saying. More than anything, it spoke to Bowden’s sense of humor, with him even in the latter stages of his life.
—“The note Bowden sent Jack Nicklaus after winning the 1986 Masters is absolutely priceless” via Coleman Bentley of Golf Digest
—”‘It was delightful to be a part of that’: CBS Sports’ Gary Danielson remembers Bowden’s curtain call in Jacksonville” via Ryan Kelly of CBS News
“Tennessee football, Bowden had many connections in the 90s” via Caleb Calhoun of All for Tennessee — The obvious connection between the two is the Fiesta Bowl in early 1999. It was to decide the 1998 national champion in the first year of the BCS. The Vols won 23-16. A year later, the two were predicted to meet for another national title, and while FSU upheld its end of the bargain, the Vols went 9-3. Even before those title connections, though, UT and FSU shared competition and mutual enemies. Most notable among them were the rivalries with Florida. Bowden and Phillip Fulmer both led programs that hated Spurrier’s Gators. In addition to the explosive rivalries with Florida, the Vols and FSU were also the victims of many of Spurrier’s jokes when he was at UF. Yes, throughout the 1990s, both the Vols and Bowden shared a deep hatred for Florida, and they can each name a year Spurrier cost them a potential national title. UT can point to 1995, while FSU can point to 1996 and 1997.
“Ron DeSantis orders flags at half-staff for Bowden” via the Tallahassee Democrat — DeSantis has directed flags at half-staff on Friday to honor Bowden, who died Sunday. He was 91. The Governor announced that the state and U.S. flags will be flown at half-staff at the Leon County Courthouse, Tallahassee City Hall, and the state Capitol from sunrise to sunset. DeSantis said he was “honor(ing) the memory of Bobby Bowden and his impact on our nation and state.” The Governor, who played baseball as a Yale University undergraduate, personally awarded Bowden the inaugural Governor’s Medal of Freedom at an April 7 ceremony, also declaring it “Bobby Bowden Day” in Florida.
“Saturday’s service Bowden will be livestreamed” via Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat — While open to the public, Bobby Bowden’s funeral service at the Tucker Civic Center Saturday will also be livestreamed via Seminoles.com, the university announced Monday night. Scheduled speakers for the 11 a.m. service include former FSU stars Ward, Warrick Dunn, Sanders, and former Seminole assistants Richt and Andrews. Family reflections will be offered by Bowden children Tommy, Terry and Ginger. Former FSU player Bobby Butler, an ordained minister, and Rev. Ronny Raines will officiate the funeral. Public viewings will take place Friday at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at the Moore Athletics Center at Doak Campbell Stadium from 2 to 7 p.m.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@Redistrict: By my math on the 2020 Census, 60.1% of U.S. residents live in the 539 counties that voted for Biden in 2020, and those counties accounted for 65.1% of the nation’s net population increase in the past decade.
—@AdrianBonebert1: Things aren’t over yet for Afghanistan. If they do end in the next 30-90 days, I cannot think of a more damning indictment of the U.S.’s strategy or execution for “nation-building.” The USSR, a totalitarian state, built a more durable Afghan government than we did in half the time
—@tweyant: I’ve been fascinated by small sentences in writing recently, and the one that starts a section in @edyong209’s latest is one that both sticks with me and that I rarely hear: “Pandemics end.”
—@KKfla737: As I said several days ago, DeSantis knew he’d lose in court and was completely overstepping the authority of the State Executive branch to issue these threats. It was all performative art to fire up his base and right-wing donors from OUTSIDE FLORIDA.
—@Fineout: Did you know? Florida’s surgeon general — Dr. Scott Rivkees — was once chair of the dept. of pediatrics at UF College of Medicine. He once served as a professor of pediatrics at Yale … So maybe at some point, he will talk to the public about the current surge & children. Maybe.
Thank you today and everyday to all health care workers in Sarasota County. Vaccines work. Get yours today! Walk up clinic downtown at Dept of Health building (2200 Ringling Blvd), or go to https://t.co/kfNjO53zJb and enter your zip code for a retail location near you. pic.twitter.com/76XiZnPx35
— Fiona McFarland (@FionaForFlorida) August 12, 2021
—@NewsGuyGreg: Just had a fourth out-of-state friend in the last week tell me they canceled their August family vacation to Florida due to FL’s massive COVID surge. They have kids not old enough to be vaccinated. Two couples lost timeshare use. Sad.
—@StillGray: Whether you like it or not, the vaccine passport is coming, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it (besides moving to Florida).
—@Michael_Grieco: Happy Gerrymandering Day
—@TooMuchMe: Per the census data, Florida is on track to become a majority-minority state within the next decade. It went from 57.9% white in 2010 to 51.5% white in 2020.
—@SteveSchale: Average congressional seat grows from 696,346 to 769,221 (and from 27 to 28 seats). Under this math, the additional seat “should” go in the area of the I-4 markets, as these markets will grow by formula from 11 to 11.8 seats. Most everything else remained pretty similar
—@APantazzi: Hialeah, Florida’s sixth-largest city, was one of the only major cities in the state to actually shrink in population, going from 225K to 223K, losing about 1% of its population.