JoePa tiptoes around Bowden queries
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Florida State's Bobby Bowden should "decide what he wants to do now" but otherwise refrained from commenting about the future of the Seminoles' coach.
Responding to a question from a listener Thursday during his weekly radio appearance, the 82-year-old Paterno said the 79-year-old Bowden is a "wonderful person," and that Bowden has helped build Florida State's national reputation.
Paterno leads Bowden 387-384 for most wins among major college coaches.
Paterno said he's trying to avoid news about the future of Bowden, whose tenure came under fire this week after the chairman of the university's trustees said the coaching staff was in disarray and Bowden should leave after this season.
"I don't know what's going on, put it that way, but I certainly think Bobby, being what he's done, and the kind of person he's been, he certainly deserves ... he ought to be able to decide what he wants to do now," Paterno said on the show.
"I don't know what he wants to do, and I don't know what [Florida State] wants to do," Paterno said. "Nobody calls me up, and if they call me up, I say, 'Hey, no comment."
The pressure on Bowden is similar to the pressure Paterno felt earlier this decade when Penn State stumbled through a stretch of four losing seasons in five years. Some fans grumbled then that Paterno should retire.
But No. 14 Penn State has rebounded with four consecutive winning seasons and a share of two Big Ten titles. Paterno, in his 44th year as head coach, is in the first season of a three-year contract extension.
In a statement later in the week, Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said Bowden's job is safe for now, and that offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher will be the next head coach when Bowden leaves and the university will work with Fisher on an agreement.
The Seminoles (2-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) are off to their slowest start since Bowden's first year as head coach in 1976.
"I've tried not in anyway to even learn what's going on," Paterno said. "There are personalities that are conflicting obviously as to what should happen."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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