Reluctant Hero

Talk about good field position. Legendary Florida State coach <b>Bobby Bowden </b> will have one with his name on it. FSU will dedicate the Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium about 20 minutes before the 7:45 p.m. kick off of the FSU vs. Florida game on Saturday. In addition, a three-story, stained-glass window commemorating the naming of the field will be unveiled at the game.

"Everybody's been trying to name the field for Bobby Bowden for years, but Bobby has been trying to delay it," Florida State President T.K. Wetherell.

"But he realizes he can help raise the profile of the university by doing things of this nature, and he also likes projects, like the stained-glass window, that involve students. He's really become a reluctant hero for Florida State."

The 30-by-20-foot window has been installed over the front entrance of the new Coyle E. Moore Athletic Center on the north side of Doak Campbell Stadium.

Created by FSU artist Robert Bischoff, his wife, JoAnn, and 12 FSU students in the Master Craftsman Program, the window will be among the five largest stained glass windows in America. It is composed of 112 individual panels and 8,500 pieces of glass.

The window depicts Bowden overlooking the field among a sea of Seminole fans in the stands. To make the scene more personal, Bischoff's design includes familiar figures in the crowd scene, including the students who helped create the window and Bowden's wife, Ann, who is designated by the initials "A.B." on the back of her shirt.

"In our vision, it's always Saturday, it's always noon, the stadium's always full and Bobby Bowden is always watching. This will really lift people's spirits when they see it in February long after each season has ended, " Bischoff said, noting that his students did an extraordinary amount of work to complete the window in just six months.

"The window makes a very powerful statement," Bischoff said.

"The students did a spectacular job, and I think this window is something that people will be talking about for a long time."

With the completion of the window, the timing was right for the dedication of the field, Wetherell said.

The stadium will continue to carry the name of Doak Campbell, who served as president of Florida State University from 1941 to 1957.

Bowden, 75, is wrapping up his 29th season at FSU and looking forward to another successful season next year. He has led the FSU Seminoles to national championships in 1993 and 1999 and picked up Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors those same years.

Altogether the Seminoles have played in 25 bowl games since Bowden took over the FSU program in 1976. He is the only coach in college football history to record 14 consecutive 10-win seasons and the only coach to ever lead 14 straight teams to a final ranking of fifth or higher in the Associated Press poll.

Bowden surpassed Penn State's Joe Paterno to become major college football's winningest head coach last year.

"I cannot imagine anyone who would be more deserving of recognition in perpetuity at any university than Bobby Bowden is at Florida State," said Athletic Director Dave Hart.

"You simply cannot put a value on what he has meant to the growth of Florida State University. His legend is woven into the fabric of our city, our region, our state and all of college football, which makes these planned tributes very fitting."

Contributing to Bowden's 350 career wins were successful seasons as head football coach at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., from 1959 through 1962 and West Virginia University from 1970 through 1975.


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