Birmingham native and FSU's Coach Bowden to retire at year's end

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Longtime Florida State University head football coach, Bobby Bowden, announced he will retire after the school's bowl game.

Friends of the Birmingham native reacted to the news with mixed emotions.

Bowden's friends say his 34-year career is something they'll celebrate as they approach his final game in just a few weeks.

But they also say they're also interested in his future, which they hope will mean more trips to Birmingham. "Yeah we'll have him up here more now to play golf in the summers than we've had in the past," said longtime Bowden friend Reeve Sims. "He usually comes for 2 weeks, now we'll have him for a month or so now."

"The last letter I got from him he says, "I can't wait to get up there to play golf with you guys," said Dr. Billy Marsh, a high school teammate of Bowden.

Dr. Marsh played with Bowden at Birmingham's Woodlawn High School, and now decades later, he still considers Bowden a good friend and someone he's looking forward to spending more time with. "I think the decision he made is one he thought was right at the time," Marsh said.

"Of course I didn't, I wanted him to coach 1 more year. I'm pretty sure if coach had stayed in, he was gonna have a good football team next year, and he would've gained some ground on Paterno."

"I think it's a good decision for him," Sims said. "Personally, I believe Florida State missed a golden PR opportunity. He could've stayed another year and he could've made the trip to all the different colleges."

Both Bowden friends say they believe the newly retired coach won't have any trouble adjusting to life away from football, but they are sad to see this era end.

"I believe coach will just move on, I don't think he'll have a real hard time dealing with this," Sims said. "And he's known, I mean he's 80 years old. He's known one of these days this time was gonna come."