TALLAHASSEE–Florida State University’s iconic football coach Bobby Bowden returned to the site of some of his greatest victories to challenge students to follow the Lord’s leadership in their lives.
“An Evening with Legendary Coach Bobby Bowden,” was held Sept. 10 at the Baptist Collegiate Ministry center on the FSU campus. The event drew 160 BCM students and leaders from a half dozen local Florida Baptist churches for pizza, fellowship and a question-and-answer time with the retired FSU coach.
The BCM event featuring the two-time national championship winning coach was held in partnership with Tallahassee’s Bradfordville First Baptist Church where Bowden is a member. His pastor, Ronny Raines, led the question-and-answer time with Bowden.
Tallahassee BCM director Barry Sproles said that while many in attendance were “no doubt familiar with the coach’s many on-the-field accomplishments,” those who attended this event were able “to learn more about his personal life, the moments of significance that have shaped his life, and most importantly his faith in Jesus Christ.”
“Coach Bowden stressed the importance of allowing the Lord to be the one who leads one’s life as well as the important role that prayer plays in making important life decisions,” Sproles said.
“It was evident to all who attended that Coach Bowden has a heart for college students and that he had spent decades coaching and ministering to them well,” Sproles said.
FSU sophomore Cooper Lovett from Panama City called the meeting “a great way to integrate the strong football culture of a major university into a faith-based community such as the BCM.
“Coach Bowden is known for his strong faith, and it was amazing to see that his career was based upon his faith, and not vice versa. He is proof that it is possible for a college student to live out their faith in everyday life.”
Raines was “touched to see how students related to Coach Bowden. They were engaged as he shared personal stories about his childhood, his faith, his career, and his marriage,” he said.
“What a joy to see different generations embrace and share the gospel together.” he said. “I love his heart for the gospel and for the next generation.”
On the drive home, the coach “commented to me multiple times how he enjoyed being back on campus and spending time with the BCM students.,” Raines said.
Following the event, the 90-year-old, stayed for several minutes to take photographs and meet a long line of students eager to talk with him.
“This was an evening the students will never forget and a great example of how the BCM can strategize and partner together with our local churches to advance the Gospel on the campus,” Sproles concluded.