Bobby Bowden Leaves a Legacy Worth Remembering
By Rev. Bill Gruenewald
Bobby Bowden, head coach of the Florida State Seminoles from 1976–2009 and one of the greatest football coaches to ever live, went on to his eternal rest on August 8, 2021. Coach Bowden was known by his players, colleagues, and friends as a man who loved football, but he prioritized his faith and his family.
As a football coach, Coach Bowden’s resume is stunning. He was 377-129-4 with two national championships and 12 conference title wins. Talk to anyone who knew him, though, and football isn’t usually the first thing to come up.
A public celebration of life was held at the Tucker Civic Center, at which over 300 coaches and players came to pay their respects. One of those in attendance was Warrick Dunn, a retired NFL player with a successful 12-year career.
“He believed in me, and that’s a powerful thing for an 18-year-old who’s just trying to figure out life,” said Dunn. “Coach is the type of man who uses faith and wisdom to shape boys into men.”
Dunn went on to point out that three of Coach Bowden’s players went on to win the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for community service: Derrick Brooks, Anquon Boldin, and himself. That is a glowing testament to the character of Coach Bowden and his ability to develop the character of his players.
“Don’t go to the grave with life unused.”Bobby Bowden
It was Coach Bowden’s faith that made him such an incredible leader of men, and he made no effort to hide it. On the contrary, Bowden’s faith was front and center of his personal and professional lives.
“Faith is the most important thing in the world to me. It’s the greatest strength I’ve had. It’s helped me get through the hard times. You’re not going to win every one of your football games. I’ve always said I’m not going to make football my god.”
Coach Bowden was an amazing football coach, but an even better father, husband, and mentor. His impact on the lives of the people around him can’t be overstated, and there is no better reflection of Christ’s love than that.
One of Coach Bowden’s most famous quotes is also one of his shortest: “Don’t go to the grave with life unused.”
As we reflect on the legacy and example that Coach Bowden left us with, it’s only natural to look inward on our own lives. What will our legacy be? What will we leave behind? Are we striving to leave legacies that will impact generations to come?
Each of us has the opportunity to leave a legacy from our estate. We have the resources to leave a legacy for our family, but even more than that, we can leave a legacy of faith for the next generation. If each of us leaves just a portion of our estate for Kingdom purposes, think of the legacy of faith we leave for the next generation and how these resources will be used to share the gospel of Jesus Christ for many years to come.
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