Hall of Fame college football coach Bobby Bowden has been diagnosed with a terminal medical condition, he and his family announced Wednesday.
“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 by Florida State. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”
Bowden did not disclose his condition in his statement.
The 91-year-old Bowden coached the Seminoles for 34 seasons before retiring in 2009 and is the second-winningest coach in Division I history with 357 victories. His teams won national championships in 1993 and 1999.
“Coach Bowden built a football dynasty and raised the national profile of Florida State University, and he did it with dignity, class and a sense of humor,” university 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 family have always come first, and he is an incredible role model for his players and fans alike. He is beloved by the FSU family.”
Bowden dealt with a “tough” bout of COVID-19 in October, which came a few days after returning to his Tallahassee home from a lengthy hospital stay for an infection in his leg. He was also hospitalized for five days in late June and told the Tallahassee Democrat earlier this month, “I feel fine, but I can’t do much.
Bowden served as West Virginia coach from 1970 to 1975 before taking the Florida State job in 1976. He built the Seminoles into a national power, winning 12 ACC championships and national titles in 1993 and 1999. Bowden was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
“Bobby Bowden has meant everything to Florida State athletics and so much to college football in general,” Florida State athletic director David Coburn said in a statement. “He has influenced so many people beyond just the players he coached, and the staff who had the privilege of working with him. 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.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.