Bobby Bowden is officially the new NCAA career wins leader among major-college coaches with 377 victories, following the NCAA’s heavy punishment of Penn State’s football program over the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The NCAA’s penalties against Penn State include the erasure from the record books of 112 wins – 111 of which were credited to Penn State’s late coach Joe Paterno, also the former wins leader. Paterno’s official total going forward in the NCAA annals will be 298 wins, now 79 wins behind Bobby Bowden.
However, ex-Florida State coach Bowden has taken no pleasure in the record, telling the Associated Press that the NCAA’s reaction “cannot replace those boys who were molested.” The former coach, now 82, added:
“I didn’t want it to happen like this. Wish I could have earned it, but that’s the way it is.”
In an odd twist, Bowden himself has had his own win count reduced before now – previously, his total stood at 389, but was slashed by a dozen after an academic scandal at Florida State in the 2006 and 2007 school year, which the university reported itself.
Jimbo Fisher, who succeeded Bobby Bowden at Florida State, told the AP that his predecessor and mentor won’t revel in the new record:
“He won’t take any glory in doing that. He still has thoughts and prayers with the victims of the situation at Penn State.”
The deletion of past victories is far from the only punishment meted out to Penn State: other NCAA sanctions include fines of $60 million, the school being made to sit out postseason for four years, and five years’ probation for the football program. Yet Bowden is in no doubt that the punishment fitted the crime. Speaking to AP reporters after a round of 18 holes at the Golf Club of Quincy, Bowden stated:
“The penalties are bad, but what happened was bad. There’s not enough money to make up for what happened.”
While Bowden might not be enjoying his bittersweet new record, others are pleased for him, including former Florida State fullback William Floyd, who won a national championship ring blocking for Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward in 1993 and then a Super Bowl ring the following season with the San Francisco 49ers. Floyd said:
“I was elated, happy for him. Things work out. I think that’s what happened today.”
How do you feel about Bobby Bowden’s new record, and do you feel the sanctions given out to Penn State were sufficient?