By Jim Freeman
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – As a one time sportscaster, I had the pleasure to encounter the legendary Bobby Bowden sort of by accident.
When I was the studio host for the Carson-Newman Sports Network, we did game previews in the pre-game show. It just so happened that MTSU was playing on Saturday at Tallahassee against Number 1 Florida State. How fitting was that I thought; a feature on the top team in all of college football against a nearby in-state school.
At basically all schools in those days, there was a phone number you could call that would access you to recorded comments from the head football coach. When I called FSU for its phone number, the person who answered kindly told me the Seminoles did not have such a service. “But I can put you through to Coach Bowden if you’ll hold on,” she said to my surprise.
A shocked me is thinking, “you mean to tell me I’m going to talk to Bobby Bowden, the legend? the coach of the number one team? Yep. That’s the way it happened. My first question to Coach Bowden was why a program of that magnitude did not have a weekly recorded message. “Son, it’s simple, I want to personally talk to you and other reporters and answer your questions,” said Bowden. I was blown away.
Later, as I read Bowden’s book, I learned that his phone number was even listed in the Tallahassee phone book. His reasoning was “what if I had a friend who was passing through town and wanted to talk to me or even meet.?”
Bowden passed away Sunday morning and was the second winningest coach in the history of college football.
Bobby Cleckler Bowden was 91-years old. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/09/2021-6AM)