Update: National and Florida media confirm that Bobby Bowden will announce his retirement today. No word on whether he'll coach in the bowl game or be available for fund-raising and accompanying Jimbo Fisher on the annual spring tour of booster clubs. However, The Florida Times Union reports that the Gator Bowl is attempting to match West Virginia with FSU as a showcase for Bowden's final game.
Several reasons, from both the head and the heart, are driving Bowden's decision to step down, including:
• No wiggle room. T.K. and Spetman reportedly presented Bowden with the choice of stepping down or being a figurehead coach with no actual coaching duties. Either/Or.
• Pride. Though an aw-shucks kind of guy, Bowden's ego and pride wouldn't allow him to be a powerless leader. Can you think of a coach who would go out on those terms?
• $$$. There's plenty of buzz that Bowden will get a nice check to hang up the whistle. That's on top of the $1 million contractually due him on retirement. Very possible the same deep-pocket boosters who financed Jeff Bowden's buyout are ponying up for Bobby's walk-away windfall.
• No fuss. By retiring now, Bobby escapes all the "fuss" that he wanted to avoid. If he came back for 2010, every game, every press conference, every interview would be filled with memories, schmaltz and even a bit of pity for the 80-year old legend. Now he just has to endure the bowl game turning into a Bye-Bye Bobby event. So if you were among the 66-thousand or so attending the Maryland game -- folks, you witnessed college football history: Bowden's very last time on the Doak sidelines.