Bowden talks faith, family, football at FCA - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bowden talks faith, family, football at FCA

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Speak to Bobby Bowden for any length of time, and it's very apparent three things are most important to him.

Faith. Family. Football.

The legendary coach spoke at Thursday's Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet at First Baptist Church of Albany.

In his speech, he touched on what else but those three topics.

"Fellowship of Christian Athletes is trying to get boys to be men, trying to get athletes to be role models," Bowden says. "There's a definite need in our nation for that."

The longtime Florida State coach joked with the audience about growing up in the church in Birmingham, Alabama, and the beginning of his coaching career at South Georgia College in Douglas.

Through all the jokes, Bowden emphasized the importance of a strong family. He says he always felt an obligation to serve as a father figure to those players who came to his programs without one.

"The strength of any nation is the family. When America was started, we all had a family," he says. "Now it's 50 percent. These kids are growing up with no direction."

The 85-year old won 377 career games from 1970-2009. Though he hasn't coached since then, his interest in college football is as high now as it was when he roamed the sidelines.

The longtime Seminole head coach says in one aspect, college football has never been better.

"On the field, it's as good as it's ever been. It couldn't be any better," he says. "People are scoring a lot of points. Fans love scoring."

But off the field? 

"It's scary," he says. "The things that go on off the field that you read in the paper."

Bowden feels the off-the-field incidents can be curved with the help of organizations like FCA.

"You have to talk to your men about priorities in their lives. Putting God first, putting families second," he says.

Bowden says he wasn't sure about the college football playoff on it's inception. But after seeing it for the first time, he's become a fan.

"We always voted for the national champion, and I was happy with that," he says. "After we had the playoff though, I liked it. I really did."

Florida State won two national championships during Bowden's tenure. The Seminoles played for three more under the longtime coach. He feels they could've had a few more if the playoff existed during the Noles' heyday.

"We ended up in the top four or five for about 14 straight years," he notes. "So if they'd have had a playoff back in those days, we'd have probably had about 10 or 12 shots at it."

This was Bowden's fourth speaking engagement for the FCA of Albany. The group gave signed FSU helmets to anyone who pledged $1200 a year to FCA.

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