Bobby Bowden addresses departure
NEW YORK -- Bobby Bowden says he had always had a good relationship with former Florida State president T.K. Wetherell, but after Bowden's ouster last season, the friendship likely is beyond repair.
Bowden, who embarked on a nationwide tour Tuesday to promote his new book, "Called to Coach: Reflections on Life, Faith and Football," told The Associated Press he also doesn't want Florida State, where he was the head coach for 34 years, to "spread the story that I voluntarily, happily resigned."
The men's connection began 47 years ago, when Wetherell was a wide receiver under Bowden, his position coach at Florida State.
But after Wetherell, who became the university's president in 2003 and stepped down in 2009, forced Bowden out last season, the friendship appears substantially damaged.
Bowden, 80, told the AP Tuesday: "I doubt I'll have a relationship with T.K. anymore."
[Wetherell] said, 'Well, you can remain the head coach but you can't coach out on the field.' Now how can I be the head coach of this team if I can't go out on the field? So I said, 'Well that's out.'” -- Former Florida St. coach Bobby Bowden
In an interview with The Sporting News, which will be published Monday, Bowden said, "I never thought [Wetherell] would ever do to me what he did. I'm disappointed, but it's not like I'm going to cut my wrists."
Wetherell on Monday told the Palm Beach Post that he still considered Bowden a friend, but acknowledged the relationship is "strained."
"That's the business he is in and that's the business I was in," Wetherell said, according to the Post. "I would love to have the opportunity at some point to reconnect, play golf, have a barbecue. I think it's going to take some time to get there from his perspective."
Bowden announced his retirement -- in what was more of a forced resignation -- Dec. 1 last year, an unceremonious end to his tenure with the Seminoles, which included two national titles, 33 straight winning seasons and a 14-year run of top-five seasons that ended in 2000. The Seminoles were 7-6 last season.
Jimbo Fisher, the offensive coordinator and designated coach-in-waiting, took over after the Gator Bowl, Bowden's final game.
Bowden had been pushing defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews to succeed him, but was told that would never happen.
What triggered the eventual push out the door was the fact Florida State went 38-28 in his last five seasons, and the board of trustees and Wetherell believed it was time for a change.
Bowden, who had asked to coach one last season, told the AP that Wetherell presented him with two alternatives.
"Number one, you can stay as ambassador coach. I don't think I've ever heard of an ambassador coach in my life. I said, 'Well, what is an ambassador coach?'
"He said, 'Well, you can remain the head coach but you can't coach out on the field.' Now how can I be the head coach of this team if I can't go out on the field? So I said, 'Well that's out.'
"So I said, 'What's the next alternative?' The next alternative, we ain't going to renew your contract," Bowden said with a big laugh. "Does that sound like I resigned?"
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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