Bowden: What they're saying

Updated: December 1, 2009, 7:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

"Bobby has been a tough competitor. He has meant an awful lot to the universities he coached and to the game of football overall. He and his wife, Ann, have dedicated their lives with untold hours to better the teams and universities they cared so much about. They will be missed by the coaching profession and college football. Sue and I wish them well."
     -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno


"Bobby Bowden has served as our head football coach and inspirational 'friend-raiser' for more than 30 years. He led our football program to unprecedented success and established it among the nation's elite for many years. He set records of achievement on the field that will probably never be equaled. Bobby Bowden contributed in many ways to the overall success and advancement of a young and growing university, and the entire Bowden family is also a major part of this success story.

"I played for Bobby Bowden 45 years ago, when I was a young man, and he was an assistant coach under Bill Peterson. The bond between player and coach is strong enough, but our relationship forged even more powerful bonds as we worked hard for the university's advancement. With me and other presidents, Bobby Bowden helped raise public and private dollars to build some of the most impressive athletics facilities in the nation and to bring additional recognition to Florida State's academic achievements. Millions of Americans could see the good work and academic contributions of our university through the window of national television -- a window that winning football teams provide for their institutions.

"Bobby Bowden, in many ways, became the face of Florida State. It was his sterling personality and character that personified this university. And because his influence was so powerful, we were able to advance far beyond what many of us ever dreamed."
     -- Florida State president T.K. Wetherell


"Coach Bowden has done everything you could do. Nobody but Joe [Paterno] could ever come close to it. When we came into existence here, Florida State was everything in college football. They kind of gave us the example of what you shoot for over the long term. He's been great for college football."
     -- Southern California coach Pete Carroll


"It was a great privilege to coach for, and be mentored by, Coach Bowden who many would consider the greatest college coach in the history of the game. I'm thankful for my relationship with him and the lesson I learned that not only is winning games important, but also keeping the game in the proper perspective. I can only imagine how many lives have been impacted by him in a positive way including my own. Other than my father, he's been the most influential man in my life."
     -- Georgia coach Mark Richt


"The reason I attended FSU is because of Coach Bowden. His legendary leadership, wisdom and faith motivated me throughout my life and football career. Indeed, it's a sad day for all of FSU and the football world. Now, I can only hope the next coach can leave an indelible impression on young men the way Coach did when he sat in my living room."
     -- New York Jets running back Leon Washington


"Few people have meant as much to college football as Bobby Bowden. He is a legendary figure in the truest sense of the word and a great ambassador for the game itself. There will be very few that will ever win as many games, but more impressive are his values and the impact he has had on those that have played for him and those that have had the privilege of working with him. Coach Bowden leaves a legacy that will be missed not only at Florida State, but in the Atlantic Coast Conference and all across college football. He is a gentleman and a true sportsman and I consider it an honor to have him as part of the ACC family."
     -- ACC commissioner John Swofford


"You'll never see a guy [with the] wins he has, 300-something. He's great for college football. I think him and Joe Pa, enjoy it because you won't see that one again. At one school and that long a career in this day and age, you just won't see it. You just admire a guy that had the stamina and did it the right way. That's the thing you always admire about coach Bowden. He's always done it the right way."
     -- Florida coach Urban Meyer


"He and I go way back to 1979 and I can't think of a better friend or competitor. He and I worked together in improving the football situation in the state [of Florida] and I think we were successful in doing just that."
     -- Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger


"It's a sad day for college football and especially for so many coaches like me who Coach [Bowden] reached out to and had been such a good friend to for so many years. Coach Bowden is a person that I've always looked up to, sought guidance from and have such great respect and admiration for. He definitely gave more to college football, and those of us who love it so much, than he could ever have taken from it."
     -- Texas coach Mack Brown


"He put Florida State on the map, and you would have to know what was there football-wise to appreciate what he did. He's a legendary coach and a great guy."
     -- Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr


"Coach Bowden's influence on college football has been nothing short of fantastic. I've always had a great deal of respect for him, and I take tremendous pride with him also being a Birmingham native. ... The most impressive thing about his success is that he did it the right way. My hat goes off to him, and I certainly hope he and Ann can enjoy their retirement together to the fullest."
     -- Duke head coach David Cutcliffe

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