Former FSU head coach Bobby Bowden diagnosed with terminal illness

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01: Head coach Bobby Bowden of the Florida State Seminoles watches his team take on the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on January 1, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty

Bobby Bowden, Florida State’s legendary football coach, announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition.

"I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come," Bowden said in a statement released to news outlets. "My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace."

Bowden, who turns 92 in November, and his family asked for privacy as the former coach deals with his health, but did not disclose his condition in his statement.

During his 34 years coaching Florida State, Bowden amassed a 315-98-4 record and built the Seminoles into a national power, winning 12 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and national titles in 1993 and 1999. He won 357 games during his 40 years in college coaching and was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

"Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with class and a sense of humor," FSU President John Thrasher said in a statement. "Although his accomplishments on the field are unmatched, his legacy will go far beyond football. His faith and his family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike."

Bowden’s health has deteriorated since he tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2020, according to the report. After testing positive for COVID-19 back in October, Bowden had to be hospitalized three days later.

He had received word of the positive test several days after returning home from a lengthy stay at a hospital and rehab facility, where he had been treated for an infection in his leg.

Bowden said he wanted to beat COVID-19 so he could vote in the 2020 election for then-President Donald Trump.

"I've had a chance to get a lot of wins in my life, but I really wanted to win this one because I wanted to be around to vote for President Trump," Bowden said.

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Trump responded to Bowden's comments on Twitter: "Thank you to Florida State for giving us Bobby Bowden!"

Bowden retired following the 2009 season with a Gator Bowl win over West Virginia in Florida State’s 28th straight postseason appearance.

Bowden had wanted to coach another season to continue this pursuit of 400 wins, but Florida State officials did not renew his contract. He was replaced by then-offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.

"Bobby Bowden has meant everything to Florida State athletics and so much to college football in general," Florid State athletic director David Coburn said in a statement. "He is a part of the heart and soul of FSU, but it goes beyond even that – he is a big part of the history of the game.

"Anyone who has had the opportunity to be around Coach Bowden knows what it is like to know a person who has his priorities in the right order, who loves life and values integrity and honor."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.