Bowden Evolves

HOT SPRINGS, Va. – Over the past couple of years, Bobby Bowden has seen a growth in his Tommy as a coach. The changes might not be noticeable to an untrained or outside eye, but to him, they're unmistakable.

"He's matured like all of us," said the legendary Bowden, who enters his 30th season as head coach at Florida State, at this year's ACC Football Kickoff. "You've got to be tough skinned. I've been through it. His brother Terry's been through it and his younger brother (Jeff) is going through it now."

Tommy Bowden, who prepares to enter his seventh season as the head coach at Clemson, believes his ability to let the criticism bounce off him now as opposed to letting it all soak in is in direct relation to advice his father gave him.

And like any son who works in the family business, Tommy Bowden has grabbed onto any piece of advice his father can give and tried to make the most of it.

"I'd like to think that I've gotten better in dealing with administration, discipline problems, recognizing problems with the running game and going ahead and making changes that are difficult to do," Tommy Bowden said. "I've talked to Jeff and Terry because Terry has sure been through it at Auburn, and then I here, and then now with my brother Jeff, and also with my father because he's been through it too.

"I pretty much stay away from television, radio and print media during the season. That's advice I got from my father and given to Jeff and to Terry. You've got to stay away from that. It's more distracting mentally."

Bobby Bowden witnessed another maturing aspect in Tommy this offseason after he fired three members of his coaching staff, including both coordinators.

"He's learned that all them flaws falls on you," Bobby Bowden said. "He understands that people aren't going to point the finger at others. They're going to point it at you. And because of that, he's grabbed it by the reigns."

Even though it wasn't something that he especially wanted to do, Tommy Bowden felt it was necessary to make the changes in order to improve Clemson's chances at winning. That also included giving up control of the offense to new offensive coordinator Rob Spence.

"You call plays and at this field position last time and you've got a play-action pass set up and all of a sudden somebody recommends (something else) and his train of thought is different," Tommy Bowden said. "I think it's best that one guy handle it. It's the best scenario."

Bobby Bowden followed his son's lead for once and moved Jeff Bowden from coaching quarterbacks to receivers after fans and the media complained about the lack of improvement of Chris Rix during his four-year tenure as Seminoles quarterback.

"I've always said the secret to longevity in coaching is you've got to survive a bad year," Bobby Bowden said. "If you can do that, you'll coach a long time."


CUTigers.com Top Stories