Coaching Legend Bobby Bowden's Keys to Success
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The name Bobby Bowden has being synonymous with winning in the world of college football. Now, Coach Bowden started his career nearly six decades ago and in the end, he became the second winningest coach in college football history.
Now, he has chronicled his amazing life in coaching career in a brand new book called "The Coach Reflections on Life, Faith and Football."
We are so honored to have the one and only Bobby Bowden here.
Alright, so I'm down at a tennis tournament with my son, Florida State, right there in Tallahassee, and there's the biggest, biggest sculpture of you.
BOBBY BOWDEN, "CALLED TO COACH" AUTHOR: Cost me a lot of money. I had to pay a lot of money.
HANNITY: Well, I think you paid for it with a lot of wins for the team.
BOWDEN: I was there 34 years and somebody was nice enough to do that and I appreciate it.
HANNITY: You know, more than a couple of people -- I was talking about you when I was down in November, and more than a few people, you know, wanted you to stay on. You wanted to hang on, one more year. What happened?
BOWDEN: I don't know. Everything was set for the next coach to take over in 2011. That gave me two years. That's all I wanted. I'm 80. I didn't want to go much past that.
HANNITY: You don't look a day over 50, you look great.
BOWDEN: I look 79. Anyway, the university offered me a chance to stay -- "Coach, you can stay as an ambassador coach." What is an ambassador coach?" You can be the head coach, but you can go out on the field." I said forget that one.
HANNITY: No. No, that's not the way --
BOWDEN: The other alternative is we ain't going to renew your contract so I didn't have much of a choice.
HANNITY: Yes, and you're upset about it?
BOWDEN: Well, I'm not now. I was shocked. I said no, it is not going to happen, but it did.
HANNITY: Coaching to me, and I love sports, since I've been a kid it's been baseball, it's been basketball, it's been ice hockey, it's been tennis, it's been football. I just love sports. One of the things I love watching great coaches and you are one of them.
What is it about -- what is the number one thing you look for in a player and -- how do you vote mate them? How do you bring the best out of them? That's what great coaches do in my mind.
BOWDEN: Well, number one, I've always felt whoever gets the best player is going to win. You can mess it up. If I got a player as good as your players, if I don't mess up and you do, I'm going to beat you, you know, I've got the best players.
So, the key is going out and getting the best players. Now, athletic ability is not all of it. How about their dependability things and things like that. We check the character and the academics and all that together and look for that guy that's got all three of them, you know.
Then I think the big thing is encouraging them. I've always been the kind of guy that will pat you on the back rather than kick you in the rear end. Some coaches are going to really pound you. Others are going to lead you. I believe in a baton not a bat.
HANNITY: Tony Dungy had some wonderful things to say about you. I'm a big fan of Tony Dungy -- and he doesn't like Rex Ryan of the New York Jets, because, you know, Rex uses some spicy language, he's a real character.
There are different coaching styles.
BOWDEN: Oh, yeah.
HANNITY: Beating up these guys and pounding and you better do this and you're not going to be on this team. You've seen that.
BOWDEN: I think as a head coach you got to be yourself. When I started, I'm like you I studied coaches. I went up to Green Bay to watch Lombardi. I spent two or three, four days there to watch him coach.
Then from there, we drove down to Cleveland and watched Paul Brown. Two of the greatest coaches ever in professional football. Exactly opposite, Lombardi, kicked you in the rear end, get all over you and drive you and everything. Brown, everything was a whisper, everything was a whisper. No profanity.
HANNITY: Where did you fit in there?
BOWDEN: I still tried to be me. I might copy their tactics. Bear Brown was my guy. He went to Alabama when I was coaching Sanford. He went to Alabama in '57 -- he went to Alabama in '58 as head coach. I went to Sanford in '59. It was only 50 miles apart. So I was able to study him and see how he built those champions down there. I try to emulate his coaching.
HANNITY: Every great coach I've interviewed, Lou Holtz is a regular on this program. Every great coach though, you know, has this infectious, strong, competent personality. Were you born with that or did you develop that?
BOWDEN: I guess born. You know, I mean, yes, I've always had that competitiveness. Some do and some don't show it maybe like some others do. If you don't have that you are going to have a rough time in this profession.
HANNITY: Is there anything more exciting than walking out on the field after training and playing a football game with 100,000 people, is there any more fun than that?
BOWDEN: You know, it's funny, as a football coach you sit in the office, taking phones, getting criticized, reading the papers, got this problem here, got this problem here. Then finally -- then you hit the field for the game.
I'm free at last! I'm free at last! It is. Going out there and trying to use strategy that will beat the other team from what you've studied. Sometimes you have a game plan. I don't care what do I got a plan for it. You go out there and three plays ain't no good.
HANNITY: Tell me how important faith is in your life?
BOWDEN: Faith is number one. The thing I try get across in this book, I like to get kids. I want to get the kids. Put God first, put your family second, not football yet, put your education next. That education will you take to your grave. Football you could be out tomorrow with an injury.
HANNITY: Average NFL player plays less than 4 years.
BOWDEN: Yes, that's exactly and so somewhere down the line, football. Football is not my priority in life, it is a priority, but it is not the priority.
HANNITY: You just explained to everybody what made you not just a great coach but a great man.
BOWDEN: Well, I don't know if I'm a great man. Thank you though, anyway.
HANNITY: Coach, it's great to see you. I want to go back. I'm going to get a picture of the statue maybe you'll come down to see us.
BOWDEN: If you get back down. Hey, my phone has always been listed.
HANNITY: Is it listed?
BOWDEN: My phone's always been listed.
HANNITY: You should not have just said that, Coach. You could be in trouble.
BOWDEN: Yes, on TV I shouldn't. I don't mind telling you, but I think I've told more than you, right?
HANNITY: I think I will cut that out for you. Anyway, Coach, good to see you. Thank you.
BOWDEN: Thank you.
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