Florida State coach Bobby Bowden plans to be at two Florida State games this fall -- his first two since his controversial departure in 2009.
There is nobody happier about this news than Jimbo Fisher.
"It’s great for him to come back," Fisher said recently from the ACC spring meetings. "You’re talking about the winningest coach in college football history. You’re talking about the guy I revered. That was my guy I grew up around. I think it’s great he can be honored in the way he should be honored for college football, and what he’s done for Tallahassee and Florida State and college football in general, one of the great ambassadors and people in college football history. I’m excited about him coming back. I’m glad he’s coming back."
Fisher served as the coach-in-waiting before being elevated to head coach following Bowden's messy departure from the school. Though much time has passed since Bowden has been to a game in Doak Campbell Stadium, he always maintained he wanted to stay away after retirement to give the new head coach time to build his own program.
Fisher knew all about that plan -- well before he was designated coach-in-waiting in 2007. Back during his playing days at Samford in Birmingham, Ala., Fisher got to know Bowden, who also played and coached at Samford.
"You know something? He always said he was going to move out," Fisher recalled. "I remember having conversations with him when I wasn't even a full time coach, '88,' 89, '90 I sat around the pool with him and (he said) whenever he retired, he wasn’t going to hang around. Because somebody did that to him. He used to say that back in the day, it’s not fair to the other coaches."
The Fishers and Bowdens are on good terms. They most recently attended a fundraiser together in Alabama with Alabama coach Nick Saban a few months ago. Bowden is to attend the Oct. 26 game against NC State and the Nov. 16 homecoming game against Syracuse, when he will join members of his 1993 national championship team for a celebration of their 20th anniversary.