Sources: Bowden to retire

Updated: December 1, 2009, 10:41 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

TALLAHASSEE -- Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, who built one of college football's greatest dynasties in 34 seasons with the Seminoles, plans to announce his retirement Tuesday morning, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.

Bowden told The Associated Press Tuesday morning he wanted to speak to his players before announcing later in the day whether he will return to coach Florida State next season. A team meeting has been scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.

"I want to meet with my team first," Bowden said on his way into the office.

Bowden, whose 388 career victories trail only Penn State's Joe Paterno as major college football's winningest coach, met Monday morning with Florida State president TK Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman.

Spetman described Monday's meeting in Bowden's office as congenial.

"It's always cordial with Coach Bowden," Spetman said. "He's a good man."

According to sources, Bowden, 80, was given two options: return to FSU in 2010 as an ambassador to the program, in which he would have little input in the day-to-day operations of the program; or retire after the Seminoles' upcoming bowl game.

Bowden's wife, Ann, told the AP that Bowden was meeting at their home with school officials Tuesday.

Wetherell spokeswoman Dawn Randall said the school president would not be commenting Tuesday on Bowden.

When asked about reports Bowden was stepping down, Ann Bowden said nothing had been completed. University spokesman Browning Brooks said no news conference had been scheduled.

Sources told ESPN.com that offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who near the end of the 2007 season was named Bowden's eventual successor, has agreed to contract terms to replace Bowden after this season. The school's booster organization would have owed Fisher $5 million if he didn't replace Bowden by January 2011.

Bowden led the Seminoles to national championships in 1993 and '99 and 14 consecutive top-five finishes in the Associated Press top 25 poll from 1987 to 2000.

But the Seminoles finished 6-6 after last week's 37-10 loss at No. 1 Florida, which was the third time in four seasons that FSU lost six games.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

ALSO SEE