Bobby Bowden: Keep victims in mind

Updated: July 24, 2012, 8:59 AM ET
By David M. Hale | NoleNation

With the sanctions levied against Penn State on Monday, former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden now owns the record for most wins in FBS history, but he said the focus of the day's events should be on the victims of Jerry Sandusky and not the on-field repercussions.

"There's no rejoicing in the Bowden household," Bowden said when reached Monday. "The most important matter is the young men who suffered. I won't be able to enjoy it under the circumstances.

"The fact I knew Joe personally, I'm probably like a lot of the kids who played for him. I hate it for Joe and his family, but the worst part is what happened to those kids and what Jerry Sandusky did."

Paterno, the longtime Penn State coach, had 111 wins dating to 1998 vacated from his record as part of the NCAA's sanctions, which also included $60 million in fines, a four-year bowl ban and a loss of scholarships in the wake of the Sandusky child sex assault scandal.

That leaves Paterno with an official win tally of 298, well behind Bobby Bowden's official career tally of 377.

The late Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson has the overall NCAA Division I record with 408 wins, one fewer than Paterno's pre-sanction total.

Bowden was on the golf course Monday morning when news of the penalties was relayed to him.

"Nobody would want to have a title given to him this way," he said at the time in a statement. "No sanctions, no amount of money, and no penalties could ever repay or repair the damage done to those young boys. I just hate the way all of this has happened.

"Nothing that has transpired today has changed what our teams accomplished over the years one bit. All of this attention and focus should be on the innocent victims of this tragedy."

Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said Monday that he was pleased his father's legacy would now include the record for wins, but echoed the notion that no celebrations were in order.

"His record speaks for itself, and it's my father so you'd like to be happy for him," Tommy Bowden said.

"But under the circumstances, it pales in comparison to how significant those problems are and the lives that have been affected."

Bobby Bowden and Paterno spent much of the past decade separated by just a few victories, but the former Penn State coach eventually pulled ahead after the NCAA vacated 12 wins from Bowden's record following an academic fraud investigation surrounding several FSU players in 2009.

"Even though he did not know about his (infractions), he was the head coach and, as the head coach, you're held responsible," Tommy Bowden said of his father's vacated wins. "The NCAA merited a just discipline for that infraction, and with Penn State they did the same thing."