Kenny Chesney is one of the thousands paying their respects for legendary former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. “The Good Stuff” singer said becoming friends with Bowden was “one of the highlights of my life.”
Bowden died early Sunday morning. He was 91.
Kenny Chesney posted a photo of the two of them together and thanked Bowden for his friendship.
“So long to a legendary football coach, a legendary person, and a great friend,” Chesney wrote on Instagram. “Bobby Bowden always treated me like family. He even let me go through spring football practice with Florida State back in 2004. Meeting and becoming friends with Bobby was one of the highlights of my life. So long Bobby Bowden… You were everything good about college football.”
Bobby Bowden has the second-most wins for a Division I coach (377), behind only Penn State’s Joe Paterno (409). He also won 12 ACC championships and two national championships, according to the New York Post. Bowden retired from coaching in 2009, but his legacy looms over the sport.
Kenny Chesney has discussed meeting his sports heroes over the years and becoming friends with them.
“I got to really know John Madden and Bobby Bowden,” Chesney told PopCulture. “I got to know Nick Saban and I got to know Brett Favre and I got to know all these people you would see on TV every Saturday and Sunday. Since then, over the years, so many of those people have come to shows.”
Bobby Bowden Had Been Battling Pancreatic Cancer
Bobby Bowden has struggled with his health over the past year. Last year, doctors kept the football icon hospitalized for months with an infection in his leg. Shortly after he returned home, Bowden contracted COVID-19 and returned to the hospital.
Though he beat the virus, he never fully recovered.
In July, the Bowden family announced the 91-year-old had terminal pancreatic cancer. Bobby Bowden put out a statement saying he was “at peace” and “prepared for what is to come.”
“I’ve always tried to serve God’s purpose for my life, on and off the field, and I am prepared for what is to come,” Bobby Bowden said in a statement announcing the condition. “My wife Ann and our family have been life’s greatest blessing. I am at peace.”
Terry Bowden announced his father’s death Sunday morning in a statement.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better personal mentor than my father,” he wrote. “He was a wonderful husband and father, who relied on his strong Christian faith to provide the foundation for his life. I also was fortunate to be raised by a football coach who had a reputation for coaching the right way his entire career. He was admired by everyone who played for him or coached against him.”
Bobby Bowden leaves behind his wife of 71 years Ann, their six children, and 21 grandchildren.