Papa Bowden donned his first whistle in Douglas -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Papa Bowden donned his first whistle in Douglas

April 15, 2004

Douglas-- Coffee County is where it all began for the winningest coach in college football history. Florida State's Bobby Bowden came to South Georgia College in 1955 as the schools head football coach and athletic director.

And the rest as they say is history. Bowden went 22 and 11 in four seasons at South Georgia College before the school dropped the football program in 1958. Under his watch, the Tigers won three state junior college titles and tied for another.

Bowden's 22 victories here in Douglas do not count towards his NCAA record of 342, but they do count to the men that played for the living legend.

One of those men is current Coffee High coach Bonwell Royal, who says Papa Bowden was a father figure even back when he was younger than some of this players at South Georgia College. "He has a genuine interest in his players and we knew that here. He looked after us because it was hard times and there wasn't a lot of money here and guys came from poor families. And he just looked after us," Royal said.

Coach Bowden returns to Douglas every year for a reunion at South Georgia College. This year's reunion is scheduled for Memorial Day weekend.

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