Bowden visit stirs memories

Perhaps no name is more associated with college football than Bowden.

After all, Bobby Bowden, who served as the head football coach at West Virginia University from 1970 to 1975, was a head coach for 44 seasons, winning 377 games, including victories in the Cotton, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls.

Bowden always has spoken fondly of West Virginia, where his two sons who followed him into the head coaching business -Tommy and Terry -played for the Mountaineers.

Bobby Bowden has spent some time in Parkersburg, including two appearances as the guest speaker for the annual Leadership Dinner of the Allohak Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Tonight, Terry Bowden once again will follow in his father’s footsteps when he serves as the keynote speaker for this year’s dinner, set to take place at the Grand Pointe Conference Center in Vienna.

This isn’t Terry’s first public appearance in Parkersburg. During an earlier visit he served as a speaker for two Ohio Valley University functions -an athletic fundraising dinner and the school’s graduation.

While Terry -now the head football coach at the University of Akron, where Parkersburg High School all-state punter Kyle Foster will join the Zips this fall -never will be able to match his father’s legendary college football record, his oratory skills are on par with his famous dad.

Terry Bowden is an enthusiastic, optimistic man who always seems to have a big smile on his welcoming face.

He’s done a sports talk show from his home, but he seems most at home on the football field.

Last year, his second year as the head coach at Akron, the Zips nearly stunned the college football world by having Michigan on the ropes before more than 100,000 fans at Ann Arbor. Michigan finally won 28-24 with most of the nation looking on in disbelief that this wasn’t a four-touchdown or more blowout.

His best team came at Auburn in 1993, when the Tigers went undefeated and were good enough to win the national championship, but were on probation due to violations that occurred under coach Pat Dye, who Bowden succeeded.

Bowden’s Auburn teams had 20 straight games without a loss, but a two-year postseason ban prevented them from going to a major bowl. Still, his first five seasons there saw him record 46 wins.

When Rich Rodriguez, who like Bowden began his head coaching career at Salem College, left West Virginia at the end of the 2007 regular season, Bowden expressed an interest in returning to the school where he played for Frank Cignetti. But WVU officials decided to reward interim head coach Bill Stewart, who had guided the Mountaineers to a win in the Fiesta Bowl.

For at least one day today, Terry Bowden will be coming home. No doubt he’ll relive some memories and use them to spin some down-home stories.

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