Bobby Bowden, former coach and head of the FSU Seminole football program, passed away yesterday from pancreatic cancer.

It wasn’t unexpected. It wasn’t a surprise. But I found myself incredibly saddened.

I never met him, but I admired and respected him as did many fans, sports writers, commentators, analysts, players, opponents, etc… The teams he coached were from all walks of life, were incredible on the field, and produced some amazing men off the field. I read a lot of the tributes from former players and other college football coaches and was moved by the stories of the lives he touched and changed. He lived his life with a purpose bigger than himself.

Football season for FSU begins in a month, on September 5th. I don’t know what the team will look like or play like. We’re on our 3rd coach since Bobby Bowden retired in 2009. Before that, he’d been the coach at FSU since 1976. In 34 years, he had 1 losing season. The first season. Under Coach Bowden, the Seminoles appeared in bowl games for 28 of those season and won 2 national championships, and for 14 straight won at least 10 games in each and finished ranked in the top 5. That’s the kind of powerhouse program Bobby Bowden built and the kind of powerhouse program we haven’t seen in years coming out of Tallahassee. I hope that changes soon.

For today though, my thoughts are with his family and friends and the lives of all those he touched. He was revered and respected on and off the field, and he made us all proud to be fans.

Rest in Peace, Coach.