Legendary college football coach Bobby Bowden revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February of 2007 and has been in remission the past four years. Bowden, 81, went through treatment in private throughout the 2007 season while coaching the Florida State Seminoles.
Bowden became aware of the cancer in early 2007 while undergoing his annual physical exam with FSU doctors. Later that month, Bowden underwent a biopsy and an ultrasound to confirm the prostate cancer.
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Bowden has chosen this time to reveal is diagnosis and become a spokesperson for the On The Line campaign, an educational initiative the encourages men to speak with their doctors about prostate cancer. Bowden stated that an annual physical saved his life.
“I feel good,” Bowden said. “If the doctors hadn’t told me I had it, I probably would have never known.”
Bowden said that he kept his diagnosis a secret from everyone to prevent his treatment from being a distraction to his team. He also did not want to give opposing coaches ammunition to use to steer recruits away from FSU.
“I never said anything about it,” Bowden said. “I never made a big deal out of telling the [FSU] president or athletics director.”
Bowden was treated with brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation, which places a radiation source inside or next to malignant tissue. Dr. Joseph Camps, Jr. completed the procedure on Bowden in April of 2007 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Camps, who was a defensive back and senior captain on Bowden’s first team at FSU in 1976, performed the surgery in the middle of the night and even shut down a wing of the hospital to keep everything a secrete.
“I was so happy because he didn’t want it publicized at the time,” Camps said. “I felt very confident that we could do the procedure. I just didn’t want any complications. I didn’t want people wondering where he was or if he was having problems. He didn’t turn a hair, and I was very happy with it. That just made everything better.”
Bowden was forced into retirement at the completion of the 2009 season. He left college football with the second most wins ever by a Football Bowl Series coach. He will make a return to the sidelines along with Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger in the inaugural Battle of Florida North vs. South Collegiate All-Star Game at Florida Atlantic Stadium on Jan. 21.
Dr. Camps has stated that Bowden, who also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, is otherwise is good health.
“He’s done very well,” Camps said. “He’s in remarkable health and he’s really healthy.”