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Conflicting reports about Bowden's future

Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack

Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Despite multiple reports to the contrary, Bobby Bowden says he has not made a decision about his coaching future at Florida State and plans to meet with university officials again Tuesday.

Bowden told The Associated Press at his home Monday evening that he is still sifting through "options" presented to him when he met with Florida State President T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman for an hour earlier in the day.

"Yes, there are options," said a relaxed Bowden, who was eating a light dinner while seated in an easy chair in his home office surrounded by memorabilia from his long career. "One of them is to be the head coach."

The Tallahassee Democrat and ESPN.com reported Bowden, the second-winningest coach in major college football history, is expected to announce his retirement this morning. According to sources, Bowden was given two options: return to FSU in 2010 as an ambassador to the program, having little input in the day-to-day operations, or retire after FSU's bowl game.

When asked about reports Bowden was stepping down, his wife, Ann, told AP that nothing had been finalized -- "that's why they're meeting tomorrow."

Bowden said that no time had been set for the meeting today and Browning Brooks, director of communications for the university, said no press conference has been scheduled.

The coach, who turned 80 on Nov. 8 and is in his 34th season at FSU, said earlier Monday that an announcement about his coaching future would come today.

Bowden ended the 10-minute interview at his home saying only, "I'll see you (today)."

After Florida State lost to its regular-season finale to Florida on Saturday, Bowden said he had to do some soul searching before deciding whether he would return in 2010.

There are questions about how responsibilities will be divided next season between Bowden and coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher -- especially when it comes to hiring assistant coaches. Fisher, the offensive coordinator, receives $5 million from Florida State if he's not the head coach by January 2011.

Earlier this year, Bowden had strongly suggested he wanted 2010 to be his last season. But Bowden, whose 388 career wins are second only to Penn State's Joe Paterno among major college coaches, has also said he could not return as a head coach with no authority.

Spetman described Monday's meeting in Bowden's office as congenial.

"It's always cordial with coach Bowden," Spetman said. "He's a good man."

The coach was in good humor when he told a couple hundred boosters Monday at his weekly luncheon that he had the discussion about his future. The coach drew laughs from fans several times with quips and one-liners.

Bowden was not as upbeat after FSU's embarrassing 37-10 loss to the Gators on Saturday. The Seminoles have lost their last three games to Florida by scores of 45-12, 45-15 and 37-10.

But by Sunday, Bowden said he wanted to return in 2010 for his 35th season at Florida State, but that decision couldn't be finalized before he met with Florida State administrators.

Bowden has been on a one-year rollover agreement with the university for several years, but that ends after the 2010 season.

The winningest coach in Atlantic Coast Conference history, Bowden teams put together the one of most dominant runs in college football history between 1987 and 2000 with 14 consecutive finishes in the nation's top five and a pair of national titles.

But the Seminoles' fortunes haven't been nearly as good in recent years, finishing this year with a 6-6 record after starting the year with high expectations and a preseason No. 18 ranking.

In 1993, despite a late-season slip at Notre Dame, Florida State won its first national title after near misses in 1987, 1988, 1991 and 1992 -- several seasons because of losses to nemesis Miami, which won three national titles during that span.

Bowden had his lone perfect season in 1999 as the Seminoles became the first team to go wire-to-wire in The Associated Press poll ranked No. 1 from the preseason to finish.

Since winning their 12th ACC championship in 2005, the Seminoles have been 16-16 over the past four seasons against league opponents.

"There's no doubt in my mind Florida State will come back," Bowden said Monday