Florida State boosters calling for Bowden to retire

Updated: October 25, 2006, 8:26 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

"Our dilemma is: How do you ask a legend to retire?"

All-time Division I-A
coaching victories
Coach W L T
x-Bobby Bowden 363 110 4
x-Joe Paterno 359 120 3
Bear Bryant 323 85 17
Pop Warner 319 106 32
Amos Alonzo Stagg 314 199 35
LaVell Edwards 257 101 3
Tom Osborne 255 49 3
Lou Holtz 249 132 7
Woody Hayes 238 72 10
Bo Schembechler 234 65 8
x- active

The question was posed by Bill Davis, a past president of a Seminoles boosters organization, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post. The answer might be coming soon.

Some Florida State boosters are calling for 76-year-old football coach Bobby Bowden, whose Seminoles (4-3, 2-3 ACC) are in last place in the conference's Atlantic Division, to retire.

Palm Beach attorney Peter Mettler, who is a former board member of Seminole Boosters, told the newspaper he was one of many boosters who have written to Florida State calling for Bowden to retire.

"I am convinced and frankly have been for the last two seasons that coach Bowden should retire or be forced to retire," Mettler wrote to Florida State president T.K. Wetherell, the newspaper reported. "Someone has to stand up and make this difficult decision. As our president I urge you to be the leader I know you are, and do what has to be done."

Mettler, who is a Golden Chief in the booster organization ($6,000 miniumum donation) told the newspaper he sent his letter on Friday, the day before Florida State lost at home to Boston College.

On Monday, Mettler discussed the situation with ESPN's Joe Schad.

"I think the world of Bobby Bowden and in a perfect world, this is his call. You say, 'He's earned that right. He's a treasure.' But there comes a time when you've got to say, 'Look, how much more of this do you want to take?'"

"I don't have a problem with him being the 'CEO' of Florida State. To me, the issue is wins and losses for the last five and a half years. If this was a Fortune 500 company or an NFL team, there would be change. The record is simply deteriorating."

Davis also told the Post he thinks it's time for a change at the top for the Florida State football program.

"This is a real tough business. It boils down to one of two things: It's either the horses or the jockeys. And we think we have some pretty good horses."

Wetherell told the Post that no moves will be made during the season, adding that FSU evaluates its coaches after their seasons end.

"Right now all loyal Seminoles fans ought to be out there supporting the team and we'll deal with it at the appropriate time," Wetherell told the Post. "We don't fire deans in the middle of the semester and we don't give out grades to the students in the middle of the semester."

Asked if he supports Bowden, Wetherell told the newspaper "Absolutely, I support him."

A Web site, "RetireCoachBowden.com", also is calling for Bowden to step down.

"We think it is time for someone in the FSU Administration to tell the Emperor he has no clothes...it is time to let our Legendary Coach retire with some amount of class and dignity. Let 2006 be the swan song year so FSU can look ahead to the future with a new, younger direction, with an active Head Coach who actually coaches in the game," the introduction to the Web site reads.

However, Bowden remains upbeat.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I feel real good about our program right now," Bowden said Sunday after the Seminoles lost their second straight conference home game.

"I can't worry about that," Bowden said. "Find the sun. The glass is half full, not half empty. That's always been me."

Bowden on Monday also came to the defense of his offensive coordinator -- and youngest son -- Jeff Bowden, who has faced increased criticism for the Seminoles' decline in offensive production.

"I don't think he'd get half the criticism if his name ain't Bowden," Bobby Bowden told The Associated Press. "How can I have nine coaches and it's always one guy's fault? We're a team. We win and we lose. We don't point fingers."

With the season's final road trip on tap Saturday at Maryland (5-2, 2-1), Florida State needs a win to avoid heading into the season's final month at .500 for the first time in Bowden's 31 years at the school.

The Seminoles' three losses to Clemson, North Carolina State and Boston College are by a total of 16 points.

"We've been in every ballgame until the last dadgum minute," Bowden said. "We're playing so many younger people, we should get better."

When, however, is the question for the defending ACC champs, who have now lost seven of their last 12 games dating back to last November.

"I don't want to present this as 'Oh boy, next year,'" Bowden said. "I'm talking about this season. [But] we've got some growing up to do."

Injuries have forced Bowden to play 17 true freshmen this year, including five who started in the loss to Boston College.

"People win with freshmen. You also get beat with freshmen," Bowden said. "But they're going to be good."

Reaffirming his positive nature, Bowden said his years in coaching have taught him good follows bad.

"We're going to come out of this doggone thing," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE