Clemson University

Tommy Bowden living a life of leisure

FSU head coach Bobby Bowden and his son Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden chat prior to Clemson's game against Florida State, Monday, September 3, 2007.
FSU head coach Bobby Bowden and his son Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden chat prior to Clemson's game against Florida State, Monday, September 3, 2007. The State

Tommy Bowden picked Clemson to beat Florida State.

That's what he does now for, a site with a roster of former college coaches who sleep well on Fridays, enjoy their Saturdays and dispense wisdom to hard-core fans.

Bowden said he picked his former team each week this season except when the Tigers played at Miami.

"I picked against them one time and I was wrong," he said, "so I've gone back."

A year and three weeks since leaving Clemson midway through his 10th season and turning over the job to Dabo Swinney, life is pretty sweet for Tommy Bowden. But he might not be finished coaching.

Clemson is paying off the balance of the $3.5 million buyout in semi-annual installments through 2014. Other than the Buster Sports gig, Bowden flies to speaking engagements at churches, Fellowship of Christian Athletes events or touchdown clubs a couple of days a week. He will be at the Spartanburg Expo Center on Nov. 13 for a FCA tailgate party.

The Bowdens live in a condo at Panama City Beach, Fla. He runs five miles a day, and he and Linda walk another five. He sold the house in Clemson and said he might build one in Florida if he does not take a coaching job.

As yet, there are not any openings, but rumors on the message boards have linked him to at least four schools.

"I'm going to see what comes up in November," he said during one of those walks this week. "This is the time of the year when things start happening.

"I'd entertain any opportunities, so I'll sit back and wait, but I surely enjoy what I'm doing."

In the meantime, Bowden said, his toughest decisions on game day are omelets or pancakes for breakfast and which dip he will have with his chips. After breakfast he runs on the beach, exercises and "by 12 o'clock I'm on the couch for about 12 hours."

"It's a great day," he said. "I can watch Rich Rodriguez and know what he feels like and watch my father and know what he feels like and Dabo."

He has watched every Clemson game except this past week's, plus his father's games and several of brother Terry's.

Terry Bowden was out of coaching for 11 seasons before hooking on this year at North Alabama, a successful Division II program. The Lions are 10-0 and ranked No. 1 with 25 transfers, including seven from Florida State.

Tommy said he told his father, FSU coach Bobby Bowden, about North Alabama during a visit, "'That's as good looking a team as you've got.' He said, 'Son, it is mine.'"

Tommy is bothered by the public disrespect his father has endured after 34 years at Florida State. Bobby Bowden said he would decide if he intends to come back for another year.

At age 55, Tommy Bowden said he would choose carefully if opportunities surface.

He believes people might someday appreciate his legacy at Clemson. Bowden won 72 games in 9 1/2 seasons, more than any previous Clemson coach not named Howard or Ford, but never a conference championship.

Bowden said he has exchanged text messages with a couple of the Clemson players and spoken to at least one on the phone, but this is Swinney's team now, the way Bowden wanted it when he left.

"I had 10 great years," he said. "It was a great run. I wish I could have capped it off. We got so close. Maybe Dabo can take them the rest of the way."

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC