Bowden may retire today

Weis is fired

Seminoles said to offer coach a diminished role

December 01, 2009|By From Sun news services

Bobby Bowden, the longtime Florida State football coach who built the Seminoles into a national power, is expected to either retire today or agree to return to Florida State in a diminished role, a high-ranking source within the university told The Orlando Sentinel.

The report came on the same day Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis.

Bowden, 80, whose 388 career wins are second only to Penn State's Joe Paterno among major college coaches, met Monday morning with Florida State president T.K. Wetherell and athletic director Randy Spetman. The source said Bowden left the meeting with a clear understanding of his options: If he returns, it would be in a reduced head coaching role that cedes major decision-making responsibilities to Jimbo Fisher, the Seminoles' offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting.

Both the Tallahassee Democrat and ESPN.com reported Monday night that Bowden had already decided to retire. Efforts to reach Bowden were unsuccessful, but he told the Associated Press late Monday that he was "sifting through the options presented to him." Several people close to the program either denied or said they had not heard of the reports.

According to another high-ranking source, university officials in the days before the meeting on Monday were considering allowing Bowden the option of ending his coaching career after the 2010 season-opener against Samford. The Birmingham, Ala., school is Bowden's alma mater and is where his coaching career began in 1954. It is also where Fisher played college football.

In that scenario, according to the source, Bowden would be given the option to remain on the payroll as a university ambassador and fundraiser. It was unclear Monday whether Bowden had been presented with the option to return for just one game in 2010, or whether he had been presented with the opportunity to return in another capacity outside coaching.

Since Florida State won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2005, the Seminoles have gone 31-22 overall and have been a middle-of-the-pack team in the conference. The Seminoles were 6-6 this season.

Weis was let go by Notre Dame with six years left on his contract. He finished 6-6 this season and 35-27 in five seasons, among the worst of any Fighting Irish coach.

"For many of you who may have thought that was a foregone conclusion, I would say to you that the decision was harder than you might have thought, principally because of the man it involved," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

Assistant head coach Rob Ianello will step in for Weis until a new coach is hired.

The Fighting Irish are eligible to play in a bowl game, but Swarbrick has said he wants to hear from the players before deciding if Notre Dame will go to a minor postseason game.

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