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Bowden coming to Americus on Aug. 2

Photo by Phil Coale

Photo by Phil Coale

AMERICUS -- It's not every day a living legend stops by Americus.

But that's exactly what will happen Aug. 2 at Central Baptist Church when retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden -- who is second on the NCAA's all-time win list with 377 victories -- visits Americus to speak on behalf of the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"I've heard him speak on (at least) two different occasions," said Stephen Snyder, President of the Americus-Sumter FCA Adult Booster Club. "He's very funny. He's been around a long time, coaching for many, many years, so he has a lot to bring to the table and information people should find interesting."

Bowden, who coached at FSU for 34 years and won two national titles (1993 and '99) before retiring this past season, is an ardent supporter of FCA speaking at dozens of events each year. In 2004, FCA presented the first of what is now a yearly award in Bowden's name, The National Bobby Bowden Award, honoring one college football player for his achievements on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

"He's a big supporter of FCA and speaks at these events all over the state, all over the country, actually," Snyder said. "It's real important to him and we have a mutual friend in FCA, so it just worked out (that he'll be able to come to Americus)."

The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free of charge. A silent auction featuring items signed by coach Bowden and a Georgia helmet signed by the four living University of UGA head football coaches will be featured, along with other items. There will be no charge for admission to the event, but a love offering will be taken following the service.

"Our main objective as a group is to raise a money for local schools and Christian athletes and other kids for FCA camps that run during the summer," Snyder said. "FCA offers sports camps, team camps and leadership camps during the summer, so the money raised from events like this go directly to them."

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach, Bowden was a player for the University of Alabama as a freshman in 1948. He completed his playing career at Howard College -- now known as Samford University -- from 1949-1952.

Bowden has served as a college head football coach at South Georgia College in Douglas (1956-1958), Howard College (1959-1962), West Virginia University (1970-1975) and Florida State University (1976-2009). Bowden earned numerous coaching honors throughout his career, including five national coach of the year honors (1979, 1980, 1991, 1996 and 1999).

"He's great in front of a crowd," Snyder said. "Whatever he says will be well-received and delivered."